September 08, 2003
Getting back the art that the Nazis stole

There's an interesting culture story in today's New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 — An organization for American museums is initiating a central registry of art objects on Monday, created to help speed the return to their rightful owners of paintings, drawings and sculpture seized during the Nazi era.

The Internet registry, which lists information on nearly 6,000 artworks in 66 of the largest American art museums, opens a new chapter in a controversy that erupted in the mid-1990's over the restitution of assets the Nazis plundered from Holocaust victims and others.

Recovering artworks, thousands of them seized by the Nazis from public museums and private collectors in Europe during the 1930's and 40's, has been a lingering goal, partly because of the difficulties in tracking the provenance, or trail of ownership, of many pieces.

Here is the website. Unsurprisingly, it is being said that this effort is not as much of an effort as it might be, and about that I have no informed comment to offer.

I wonder how long it will be before the world of art resounds to cries that it needs this stuff as well, i.e. little tiny hidden chippy thingies attached to everything that enables the Art World Government to track them wherever they go. Well, I don't really, because I don't know what I'm talking about. They've probably been using this sort of technology for years. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they were among the earliest customers for it and that they helped pioneer it.

The Nazis haven't been the only art criminals.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:08 PM
Category: PaintingThe Internet