Provenance Research and Issues of Ownership
The Foundation thoroughly investigates the provenance – that is, the origins – of the objects in its collections. This includes scholarly questions as well as clarifying questions of ownership.
Questions of ownership can be clarified using the results of provenance research. Often such questions arise in relationship to works that entered the collections in the years following 1933. On principle, the Foundation takes the attitude that it does not wish to keep objects in its collections that were not acquired legally.
The Foundation’s museums, libraries, and archives have also lost parts of their property in the past. That was primarily a result of the Second World War. Provenance research also plays an important role when objects are acquired. The Foundation takes care that the origins of such objects are thoroughly documented. Archaeological cultural assets are therefore all but impossible to acquire now, as they are often traded illegally.