What's a Museum to Do: Nazi-Era Provenance

Jones, Michael E.
November 2012
International Journal of Humanities & Social Science;Nov2012, Vol. 2 Issue 22, p1
Academic Journal
The purpose of this paper is to identify several of the legal consequences that have surfaced at many of the leading museums in the United States that collected art from the Nazi-Era. The paper highlights the provenance review experience of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA) that began in earnest shortly after the 1998 Washington Conference that established non-binding principles to assist museums in resolving claims related to works acquired from this era. The paper relies upon personal interviews with the Curator of Provence at the MFA, internal provenance research on the MFA's website, and an analysis of legal cases arising from queries about equitable and valid title to the art work in question in reaching its conclusions. The paper concludes that some museums with support from the courts deny the claims' of heirs regardless of their merit on time-bared reasons as a matter of law. The more equitable and appropriate solution is for museums' to waive certain legal defenses for art with unmistakable roots in the Holocaust-era.


Related Articles

  • A nose by any other name. Johnson, Glen // Yankee;Oct94, Vol. 58 Issue 10, p143 

    Features the discovery of the broken part of the statue of King Aspelta's nose at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The statue before the discovery; Other discoveries of lost article parts.

  • 10 The MFA's Makeover.  // Town & Country;Nov2010, Vol. 164 Issue 5636, p98 

    The article provides information on the presentation of Foster & Partners designed Art of the Americas wing by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

  • Footsteps from a vanished world. Andreae, Christopher // Christian Science Monitor;3/3/97, Vol. 89 Issue 66, p16 

    Part III. Presents information on the antique collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, Massachusetts. Acquisition of a pair of boots which represents an 11th-century artifact of the Liao Dynasty; Description of the boots; Cultural background of the pair of boots.

  • Navel warfare. Kageleiry, Jamie; Schultz, Christine // Yankee;Feb93, Vol. 57 Issue 2, p28 

    Presents a dispute arising from the existence of a navel on the top and bottom half of a famous sculpture of Hercules. Location of each half; Remark of Cornelius C. Vermeule, curator of classical art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

  • Twinned in Boston. H. S. // Art Newspaper;Jun2010, Vol. 19 Issue 214, p26 

    This article reports on the launch of an international loan project called "Visiting Masterpieces" at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2010.

  • SA to Houston.  // WWD: Women's Wear Daily;4/30/1996, Vol. 171 Issue 84, p6 

    Presents information on a show hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston called `Celebrating Seventh: New York Fashion Designers'. What will be seen at this show; Information on the show's curator, Ann Coleman.

  • Museum of fine arts braces for layoffs. Holmstrom, David // Christian Science Monitor;2/14/95, Vol. 87 Issue 55, p14 

    Provides details on the reorganization plans of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Critics on museum's shows and exhibitions.

  • Etceteras.  // Christian Science Monitor;3/29/96, Vol. 88 Issue 86, p2 

    Reports on several news issues as of March 28, 1996. How history regarded comet Hyaku; Show by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Top 10 movies for February 1996.

  • Central Asian ikats. Ledes, Allison Eckardt // Magazine Antiques;May97, Vol. 151 Issue 5, p650 

    Highlights a traveling exhibition of ancient ikats at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. Historical background on the sources of the items; Description of the design of ikats; Profile of the men who weaved the ikats; Outline of their dyeing process; Materials used for the...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics