Published: August 13, 2002
HARTFORD, CONN. – The Chase family has made a $50,000 gift to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art to support efforts to identify art in its collections that may have been looted during the Holocaust.
Given the widespread confiscation, theft and forced sales of art during the Nazi regime, American museums are researching the provenance (history of ownership) of works in their holdings that may have been in Europe between 1932 and 1946. The American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States have established goals and guidelines.
The Chase family gift enables the Wadsworth Atheneum to hire a research assistant; photograph the objects; publish and update findings on the museum website; and subscribe to the Art Loss Register, the leading international database of lost and stolen art.
The Wadsworth Atheneum made international news in 1998 for the restitution of a painting that had disappeared during World War II. “The Bath of Bathsheba” by Sixteenth Century artist Jacopo Zucchi was purchased by the museum in good faith from a Paris art dealer, and lawfully exported from France to the United States in 1965. By 1997, the museum concluded that the painting had been stolen from the Italian Embassy in Berlin.
In return for the Zucchi, the Italian government arranged an unprecedented loan to the Wadsworth Atheneum in 1998 of major paintings by Caravaggio and other Seventeenth Century Italian artists from the National Gallery of Art in Rome.
Guidelines concerning the unlawful appropriation of objects during the Nazi era are available online at www.aam-us.org/nazi_guidelines.htm.
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