After the Commission for Provenance Research had been established in Austria at the beginning of 1998, the Federal Law on the Restitution of Works of Art from Austrias Public Museums and Collections (Federal Law Gazette I No. 181/1998 in the version of Federal Law Gazette I No. 117/2009) was adopted parallel to the signing of the Washington Declaration (Principles of the Washington Conference on Nazi-Confiscated Art) on 3 December 1998. On the basis of this law, objects passed into the possession of the state during or as a consequence of the Nazi regime are to be returned to their original owners or their legal successors.
In order to examine the origins of the holdings of museums and identify those objects taken away from their owners, scientific employees of the Commission for Provenance Research have been entrusted with conducting intensive research in the Federal Republics individual collections.
Since spring 2001, Mag. Julia Eßl and Dr. Pia Schölnberger have been working at the Albertina as provenance experts on behalf of the Commission for Provenance Research. It is their task to continue research on an intensified basis by examining all of the objects that have entered the collection between 1933 and today with regard to their origins and former owners. In doubtful or controversial cases, a dossier is compiled that is subsequently presented to the Art Restitution Committee, which will make recommendations to the Federal Minister for Art and Culture as to a possible restitution.
The Committees decisions are published on the website of the Commission for Provenance Research.