5 March 2003

Museums and galleries throughout the UK are publishing a further update on their research into the provenance of works in their collections covering the period 1933-45. The latest findings are being published on the internet today. The new changes are the result of continuing research by the museums.

National museums, galleries and libraries conducting the research include the British Library, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Maritime Museum, the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, the National Portrait Gallery, the Science Museum, Tate and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The national museums have continued to update their lists of works with incomplete provenance between 1933 and 1945. Tate is one of the museums which has been able to remove works from its published list: a painting by Renoir and two sculptures by Fautrier. The provenance for these works has now been satisfactorily established. The V&A has updated its list of works with incomplete provenance, including new lists of ceramics, fans and works of art from India and South East Asia. The National Gallery of Scotland has added French works of art to its published list.

Five non-national museums have provided lists of works with incomplete provenance 1933-45 for the first time:
• Bristol Museums & Art Gallery
• Leicester City Museums
• Manchester City Galleries
• The Laing Art Gallery and Shipley Art Gallery, Tyne and Wear Museums
• Whitworth Art Gallery

Nine non-national museums are publishing updated lists of works with incomplete provenance, following further research. These include additions to the lists published in 2001.
• Ashmolean Museum
• Barber Institute of Fine Arts
• Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
• Courtauld Institute Gallery
• Fitzwilliam Museum
• Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull
• Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service
• Southampton City Art Gallery
• York Art Gallery

Four non-national museums have undertaken research, which has not identified any works of art with incomplete provenance that might have been spoliated during the period 1933-45:
• Ironbridge Gorge Museum
• Museum of the History of Science
• Pitt Rivers Museum
• Whipple Museum of the History of Science

The following non-national museums have updated their plans to reflect the current status of research:
• Glasgow Museums
• Hunterian Museum & Gallery
• Ironbridge Gorge Museum
• Northampton Museums
• Whipple Museum of the History of Science

A research plan for the Museum of the History of Science is included for the first time.

Members of the public and potential claimants who have any information about the provenance of the works listed, or any other works in the museums’ collections, should write or e-mail the contact named in the report for the relevant institution with details of their enquiry. For any general enquiries about the report, please contact: National Museum Directors’ Conference Office on 020 7416 5202; Fax 020 7415 5485.The research has been funded by a grant from Resource, the government’s museums agency, which is also funding the next 12 months research period.

Notes to Editors:

In June 1998 the National Museum Directors’ Conference established a working group to examine the issues surrounding the spoliation of art during the Holocaust and World War II period. The working group is chaired by Tate’s Director, Sir Nicholas Serota. Discussions by the working group resulted in a Statement of Principles and Proposed Actions for member institutions. The statement was finalised and adopted by the NMDC in November 1998 and presented to the Washington Conference on Holocaust Assets in December 1998.

In 1999 the UK’s National Museums, Galleries and Libraries including the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, Imperial War Museum, Tate Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum, began a painstaking process of research to identify any suspect works in their collections. Details of the works which have been identified as having gaps or question marks in their provenance during the period 1933-45 are regularly updated and published on the internet.

An external advisory committee is reviewing progress and providing advice on the actions necessary to fulfil the statement of principles. The committee is chaired by the High Court Judge, Sir David Neuberger and includes the following members: Sir Jack Baer, Professor David Cesarani, Mark Fisher MP, Lady Vaizey and Ms Anne Webber.

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