Provenance Research

Following the establishment of Austria’s Commission for Provenance Research at the beginning of 1998, Austria passed its “Art Restitution Act” concerning art objects from federal museums and collections (as per Federal Law Gazette BGBl. I No. 181/1998, later amended as per BGBl. I No. 17/2009) parallel to its signing of the Washington Declaration (Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art) of 3 December 1998. On the basis of this act, those objects that became federal property during or as a consequence of the National Socialist dictatorship are to be returned to the original owners and/or their legal successors.

In order to document the provenance of collection objects and identify any objects that were illegally taken from their rightful owners, researchers from the Commission for Provenance Research were assigned the task of subjecting the Federal Republic’s individual collections to intense scrutiny.

Since early 2011, Mag.a Julia Eßl has been working at the ALBERTINA Museum as a provenance researcher on behalf of the Commission. Her responsibility is to continue the research done thus far with renewed intensity by examining all objects that entered the museum’s collections between 1933 and the present with regard to their origins and previous owners. In every case that is found to be questionable or problematic, a dossier is compiled and submitted to the Art Restitution Advisory Board, which then makes a recommendation to the Federal Minister of Arts and Culture regarding possible restitution.

The Advisory Board’s decisions in this regard are posted publicly on the Website of the Commission for Provenance Research.
To the Commission's Website