The University of Michigan has embarked on a multi-year project to research its museum and library collections to identify objects that may have been unlawfully appropriated during World War II and to make public information that results from this project. The project, coordinated by the Museum of Art on behalf of the University, will focus on objects made or traded in continental Europe that were created before 1946 and acquired by the University of Michigan after 1932.
The project is an effort to comply with guidelines issued by the American Association of Museums in 1999 and 2001 as well as the University’s own standards for ethical practice.
Using AAM guidelines as a framework, the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) has identified works in its collections that are at highest risk for having been looted during World War II. These include all paintings, sculptures, and drawings by European and American artists created before 1946 and acquired by the museum after 1932 that may have been traded in continental Europe.
The Museum of Art is committed to making the results of this research accessible to the public. All works that are determined to have changed hands in continental Europe during the critical years, or those with a gap in their provenance, will be submitted to the AAM’s Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal—a tool designed to provide people searching for lost items with a single searchable registry of objects that changed hands in continental Europe from 1933 to 1945.