Provenance Research: Leopold Museum Shows “Good Will“

Austrian Press Agency (12/20/2009)

Financial contributions offered to those concerned – Provenance researchers submit their report

Vienna – Following the final results of provenance research the Leopold Museum Private Foundation wants “to signal a sign of good will regarding those concerned by offering a financial contribution as a way of providing a fair and just solution.” According to a press release, the Foundation will “analyze the results of the provenance research, inform the advisory board of individual, independent experts on how they plan to proceed and of the decisions it will take.” In the upcoming weeks the report, provided by the independent researchers who were assigned the task in 2009 to research the works of the Museum, will be presented.

The debate over restitution of art works has been ongoing for over twelve years. The confiscation of Schiele’s painting “Wally” in New York initiated the debate which led to adopting a Federal Art Restitution Law, (setting an example for Europe), along with the realization that private persons cannot be forced to restitute artworks looted by the Nazis if legally acquired.

For these reasons “the unsatisfactory results together with the many years of waiting blew the issue up out of all proportion for many people,” said the Foundation. Therefore, the Foundation working together with the Federal Government had an independent group of provenance researchers produce a report separately from that produced by the Leopold Museum Foundation in order to come together in a professional manner on the extremely sensitive topic of restitution. The goal was to “arrive at a sound agreement based on substantiated facts rather than on speculation.