National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

World War II Provenance Research

Overview | Related Publications

Select an image to view complete ownership history.

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Provenance Research Overview

From its inception, the National Gallery of Art has conducted extensive research into the provenance, or history of ownership, of objects in its collection, with particular attention over the past several years to the World War II era. In the course of this research it was discovered that the objects displayed on this page had in fact been looted during the war. Archival research uncovered documentation indicating that each of these works of art had been returned to its rightful owner after the war. These objects are displayed on this page with links to their ownership history. Wartime histories, including extensive archival references, are documented in their provenance footnotes. (See information on how to read Gallery provenance texts.) Another painting, Frans Snyders' Still Life with Fruit and Game, was determined to have been looted from a French collection and not subsequently restituted.

Several of these objects had been confiscated by the Nazi Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) from private French collections and stored at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. Captured German records, now at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, have been used to trace the confiscation and subsequent dispersal from the Jeu de Paume. Most of the Gallery objects confiscated in this manner were discovered in salt mines in southern Germany and Austria by the Allies in the last days of the war, and were removed to the Munich Central Collecting Point. Records from the Munich Central Collecting Point document the restitution of the objects to their countries of origin, where prewar owners or heirs claimed them. Other objects now in the National Gallery were recovered after the war and returned to owners in Liechtenstein, Austria, and Holland.

The National Gallery of Art provides known provenance information on this Web site for all paintings and sculpture in the collection. This research is an ongoing project, and the Gallery welcomes any information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in its collection.

Related Publications

Captions
1 Camille Pissarro, Place du Carrousel, Paris, 1900
2 Gustave Courbet, La Bretonnerie in the Department of Indre, 1856
3 Henri Fantin-Latour, Self-Portrait, 1861
4 Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Madame Stumpf and Her Daughter, 1872
5David Teniers II, Peasants Celebrating Twelfth Night, 1635
6Henri Matisse, Pianist and Checker Players, 1924
7 Attributed to Hans Holbein, the Younger, Portrait of a Young Man, c. 1520/1530
8Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Tiberius and Agrippina, c. 1614
9Luca Signorelli, The Marriage of the Virgin, c. 1491
10Henri Matisse, Still Life with Sleeping Woman, 1940
11Lucas Cranach, the Elder, Portrait of a Man, 1522
12Lucas Cranach, the Elder, Portrait of a Woman, 1522
13Henri Matisse, Woman Seated in an Armchair, 1940
14Matthys Cock, The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine, c. 1540
15Master of the Death of Saint Nicholas of Münster, Calvary, c. 1470/1480
16Alessandro Algardi, A Flagellator of Christ, c. 1630s
17Jean-Antoine Houdon, Giuseppe Balsamo, Comte di Cagliostro, 1786
18 Eugène Boudin, On the Jetty, c. 1869/1870
19 Desiderio da Settignano, Ciborium for the Sacrament, c. 1455
20 Pierre Bonnard, Work Table, 1926/1937
21 Hendrick ter Brugghen, Bagpipe Player, 1624
22 Salomon van Ruysdael, River Landscape with Ferry, 1649
23 François Boucher, Design for a Funeral Monument, c. 1767
24 Francesco Francia, Bishop Altobello Averoldo, c. 1505
25 Jacopo de' Barbari, Nude Woman Holding a Mirror (Allegory of Vanitas), c. 1503/1504
26 Edgar Degas, Three Studies of Ludovic Halévy Standing, c. 1880
27 Edgar Degas, Three Studies of Ludovic Halévy Standing, c. 1880
28 François Etienne Villeret, Rue de Rivoli and Pavillon Marsan, unknown date
29 Joseph Anton Koch, Tivoli and the Waterfalls with Shepherd Families, 1821
30 Wilhelm Leibl, Malresl Working in the Kitchen, c. 1898