Conducting collections research to discover the ownership history of objects through provenance research or to drive the care, display, and understanding of objects in a museum’s collection helps us learn and understand art, history, and natural history. The Alliance has compiled this set of collections research resources from amongst its own offerings as well as those throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.
The Alliance launched the Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal in 2003 as a place to post listings of, and search for, objects in US museum collections that were created before 1946 and changed hands in Continental Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1945). AAM is no longer updating the portal but retains it as a legacy site as some individuals still find it of use.
The following resources were compiled from organizations throughout the nonprofit and museum sector. AAM reviewed and approved each one based on the organization’s authority and expertise and the resource’s usefulness related to the topic. Clicking the links below will take you off the AAM website.
The J. Paul Getty Trust maintains the Getty Provenance Index Databases, which are compiled with the collaborative participation of institutions and individuals in Europe and the United States. The databases contain indexed transcriptions of material from auction catalogs and archival inventories of western European works of art, and contain nearly one million records that cover the period from the late 16th century to the early 20th century. The databases are available free of charge via the Web.
The United States Holocaust Museum website contains a bibliography compiled to guide readers to materials on looted art that are in the museum’s library collection.
The International Foundation for Art Research’s guide to provenance research provides in-depth information on conducting provenance research including getting started, conducting art historical research, researching collectors and dealers, how to use auction records, and covers holocaust era research.