The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, October 22, 2017

Freer and Sackler Galleries Launch Web Site for World War II Provenance Project
Chinese Bronze Ritual Vessel; Early Western Zhou Dynasty, 11th Century B.C..; Purchase, Freer Gallery of A rt, F1938.20

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have launched a Web site that allows public access to research being conducted as part of the galleries' World War II Era Provenance Research Project. The site is part of a long-term provenance effort at the Freer and Sackler galleries, which together hold one of the nation's largest and most important collections of Asian art. The goal of the project is to identify and clarify the ownership history for works of art in the collections that might have been unlawfully taken by the Nazis during the World War II era and to make this information available to the public.

The Freer and Sackler galleries' project is a part of the Smithsonian's commitment to World War II era provenance research. In 2002, Congress mandated that American museums investigate and disclose information about objects that might have been misappropriated during the 1930s and 1940s. Guidelines defined in directives issued by the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States, call for museums to identify all questionable objects or "covered objects" in their collections.

"Covered objects" are defined as those created before 1946; that were acquired after 1932; that underwent a change of ownership between 1933 and 1945; and that were or might reasonably be thought to have been in continental Europe between those dates.

World War II provenance research is often a lengthy and difficult process that does not always result in a clear and unambiguous history of ownership. However, in 2002, the Freer and Sackler galleries successfully resolved a significant case of misappropriation involving an object in the Freer collection.

The case involved a Chinese bronze ritual vessel, widely considered one of the finest bronzes to come from the Early Western Zhou dynasty (11th century B.C.), which was acquired by the Freer Gallery of Art in 1938 (accession number F1938.20). In July 2000, the galleries received a claim asserting that the heirs of Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer were the rightful owners of the vessel. With the cooperation and assistance of the family, the Smithsonian researched the history of the vessel, and discovered that it had been sold at an auction in Berlin in 1935 that was later determined to be a forced auction resulting from Nazi persecution of the Oppenheimers. C.T. Loo, a dealer with offices in New York and Paris, subsequently acquired the vessel in 1937. The Freer Gallery of Art purchased the vessel in 1938 from Loo, who asserted that it was acquired in China.

The claim was resolved when the Smithsonian and the Oppenheimer heirs amicably agreed on a purchase price for the artwork. The piece has remained in the museum's collection in Washington, D.C.

The history of this object and others in the Freer collection are being made public as part of the museum's provenance research project.

As the project continues to develop, the Freer and Sackler hope to establish new methods and standards of provenance research specifically for Asian objects and to facilitate the ongoing exchange of information among provenance specialists grappling with similar challenges.

"Our hope is that this research will not only clarify the 20th-century history of objects in our collections, but also include as much information as we can find on an object's earlier history," said Julian Raby, director of the Freer and Sackler galleries. "We also intend this research to have broader use in the form of databases of Asian collections, dealers and collectors. We have begun discussions with a number of institutions in Europe about forming a consortium to further such research, as we are convinced this information will have benefit to research institutions worldwide and the public at large."

Today's News

March 19, 2009

Basque Museum Artium Presents the Exhibition Between You and Me, by Antony Gormley

Art Paris Hosts 115 of the Most Dynamic Galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art

Guest of Cindy Sherman: New Film Chronicles Paul H-O's Life with the Reclusive Artist

Toshiko Mori's Visitor Pavilion Opens at Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House

Sotheby's Sale Total for Versace Residence Items More than Doubles Pre-Sale High Estimate

Freer and Sackler Galleries Launch Web Site for World War II Provenance Project

The Presence of the Line: A Selection of New Acquisitions from the 20th and 21st Centuries

Reina Sofia Museum Announces it will Show Loaned Masterpieces from the Prado Museum

Tracey Emin: Star of the Art Scene in-between Provocation and Personal Tragedy

Getty Villa Showcases Intricately Carved Ancient Gems

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Cuts Operating Budget, Downsizes Staff

Exploring a New Donation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Sotheby's NY Spring Asian Art Sales Bring $7,231,440 Well Within Expectations

Smithsonian Exhibits Six Architectural Models in Design Competition for New Museum

Spertus Museum to Launch Ground Level Projects on Display in Michigan Avenue Street-level Vestibule

First Daguerreotype in the Netherlands on View at Huis Marseille

Gibbes Museum of Art Announces Short List of Finalists for the Factor Prize

National Gallery of Victoria Discovers Water through Art

National Museum of the American Indian Announces Eight Recipients of the Visual and Expressive Arts Program

In Your Own Image: The Best of Bert Rodriguez-Greatest Hits Vol. I at the Bass Museum

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- $37.7 million bowl sets Chinese ceramic auction record at Sotheby's Hong Kong

2.- Major new show at Picasso Museum focuses on pivotal year in Picasso's life and work

3.- 63 Dutch Masters return home to Holland for an exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam

4.- Exhibition reveals new insights into Renoir's celebrated "Luncheon of the Boating Party"

5.- Nazi-looted Pissarro painting at centre of legal tussle

6.- The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art presents 'Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt's Etchings'

7.- Pristine Hermès Himalayan Gris Cendre Birkin bag sells for $112,500 at Heritage Auctions

8.- Tom Petty, heartland rocker with dark streak, dead at 66

9.- Exhibition presenting the art of Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dalí opens in London

10.- Private collectors using online appraisal platform to get multiple estimates from top auction houses

Related Stories

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful