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Reclamation and Restitution of Nazi Looted Art

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George Ignatieff Theatre

15 Devonshire Place

Toronto, ON M5S 2C8

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Following the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets in 1998, 44 governments endorsed a series of principles for addressing Nazi-looted art. These included identifying confiscated works of art, the opening of archives and a commitment from museums to research provenance gaps in their collections. Additionally, pre-war owners and their heirs were encouraged to make claims to art stolen by the Nazis. The conference proved to be a pivotal moment in the post-Holocaust era as the activities precipitated by it, illuminated not only how the Nazis carried out their systematic looting but also how many European countries neglected to respond to restitution claims.

In the two decades since the conference, paintings have been recovered and museums have adopted policies and made commitments to ongoing provenance research. However, thousands of paintings remain lost or caught in the tangled web of complex international policies. The Neuberger’s panel brings together a variety of perspectives from claimants to institutional representatives who are committed, in different ways, to Holocaust-era art restitution.

Panelists include: Donald S. Burris, Managing Partner at Burris, Schoenberg & Walden LLP in Los Angeles, worked in the successful pursuit of art works and other assets stolen by the Nazi authorities including the return of Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (aka The Woman in Gold) by the Austrian Government to Maria Altmann. Tobi Bruce, Director of Exhibitions and Collections and Senior Curator of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, worked on the recovery and return of 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Verspronck’s Portrait of a Lady to the Solmssen family in 2014. Clarence Epstein, Executive Director of the Max and Iris Stern Foundation, leads research and recovery efforts of the art collection of the late Montreal dealer Max Stern. Prior to immigrating to Canada and running the Dominion Gallery, Dr. Stern owned the Galerie Julius Stern in Dusseldorf—the contents of which were sold by force in the 1930s. Danielle Spera, Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna, will provide the European perspective and explain her institution’s response to Vienna’s tumultuous art restitution history. The panel will be moderated by Sara Angel, Founder and Executive Director of the Art Canada Institute at Massey College, University of Toronto. Angel has written extensively on Nazi-looted art and its restitution.

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George Ignatieff Theatre

15 Devonshire Place

Toronto, ON M5S 2C8

Canada

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