RIHA Journal 0282-0294 | 15 September 2023


Irene Bald Romano, University of Arizona, Tucson

[1] This publication was inspired by the 2017–2019 German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) and is a direct outcome of a PREP public session on “The Fate of Antiquities in the Nazi Era” held on 10 October 2018, in Munich. A number of the authors contributing to this volume participated in the PREP workshops over the three-year period or were organizers or hosts in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Berlin, Munich, and Dresden. PREP created a cohort of museum professionals and scholars in Germany and the US and stimulated an exchange of ideas and information on provenance studies of the Nazi period, creating lasting friendships and collegial relationships that are furthering the field of provenance studies. The authors of this publication represent museums, universities, and research institutes in the US, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, and Poland and extend the original PREP network. For a transformational and very important initiative, we are all grateful to PREP, the primary funders (Smithsonian Institution and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz), other supporters, the host institutions, and the organizers, especially Jane Milosch.

[2] We hope the results of this study are illuminating and that this publication will augment our understanding of the role of antiquities in the art world in the Nazi period, the aesthetics of National Socialism, antiquities collectors and dealers in Europe in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, and the various ways in which antiquities changed hands during the Nazi period. The articles also provide a wealth of bibliographic and other resources, as well as a framework for research methodologies that can be employed by other scholars examining works of ancient art and archaeological objects that have a history in the Nazi period. It is our hope that the accessibility of the publication in English and in an online, open-source format will benefit those in the field of Nazi-era provenance studies: students, museum provenance researchers, other scholars, as well as individuals who are searching for evidence of their family’s ancient collections that were confiscated or went missing during the Nazi era.

[3] I owe my deepest appreciation to all the authors for contributing to this publication and for persisting through the difficult COVID-19 period, when access to libraries and archives was limited. I am also grateful to the Getty Research Institute (GRI), especially Gail Feigenbaum and Sandra van Ginhoven, and the GRI publications department, especially Lauren Gendler; to the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, especially Christian Fuhrmeister; to the staff of RIHA Journal, Andrea Lermer with Johannes Griebel, Eva Blüml and Sofie Eikenkötter, for their enthusiastic support and interest in publishing these papers; to Elizabeth Asborno for her expert copyediting; and to the anonymous peer reviewers who made valuable comments on the papers. I owe my thanks also to Professor Dr. Hermann Parzinger of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, for his encouragement and his willingness to write a foreword to the publication.

The text of this article is provided under the terms of the Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0