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Provenance research

Provenance Research at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Since 2009, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart has been conducting research in accordance with the principles of the Washington Principles  has been proactively and systematically researching the provenance of its collection. The focus is primarily on works of art that were created before 1945 and entered the collection after 1933.

The Staatsgalerie is one of the few museums in Germany that has established a permanent position for provenance research. Research into the provenance of a work of art is thus firmly integrated into the processes of the museum's work. Whether it is the examination of works on loan, new acquisitions for the collection or special exhibitions: for each work, documentation of all provenances is compiled as completely as possible. The research of individual works of art is always closely linked to the reappraisal of the history of the institution and the collection.


Johanna Poltermann

T +49 711 470 40-462



Whenever works of art that were unlawfully dispossessed during the National Socialist era are identified in the course of provenance research, the Staatsgalerie works closely with the rightful heirs to find just and fair solutions.

Since 2003, 14 paintings and drawings have been restituted, i.e. returned to the heirs.

You will receive further information on the restitutions to date here shortly.

Permanent lenders to the Staatsgalerie such as SWR and the Freunde der Staatsgalerie e.V. have also already returned works to rightful heirs. Thanks to funding from the  German Lost Art Foundation the systematic research of the collection holdings of the Freunde der Staatsgalerie e.V. will take place from 2019 to 2022. You can find more about the project of our sponsoring association  here (German).

Lost Art

Found-Object Report

Works of art with questionable provenance, for which looting or loss due to persecution during the National Socialist era cannot be definitively ruled out, are successively entered as  Found-Object in the Lost Art Database.

Search Request

Like almost every museum in Germany, the Staatsgalerie records numerous war losses. During the Second World War, works of art were secured for protection in several storage locations in Baden-Württemberg. Some of the works nevertheless fell victim to the effects of the war or were unlawfully stolen from the place of removal. The Staatsgalerie has entered these wartime losses as Search Request  in the Lost Art Database. Due to the insufficient sources available, the actual number of wartime losses can no longer be fully researched today. According to the current state of research, we assume more than 800 missing works of art.

New project - funded by the German Lost Art Foundation

The »Dr. and Mrs. Max Stern Foundation« has been asking the Staatsgalerie since November 2022 for the return of the painting »Darstellung Christi im Tempel«, Anonym Schwäbisch, um 1470 (Inv. Nr. 2404). The provenance of the painting has not yet been adequately researched. The State of Baden-Württemberg and the Staatsgalerie are aware of their moral and ethical responsibility and wish to comply with any request for information or restitution as quickly as possible. As it is currently impossible to process the request promptly due to the high workload, the Staatsgalerie has decided to apply to the German Centre for the Loss of Cultural Property for the necessary research as a short-term project. Fortunately, funding has been approved. The aims of the short-term project are comprehensive provenance research on the work and the compilation of a detailed provenance dossier. The scientifically sound dossier to be compiled will form the basis for the evaluation of the restitution claim at the level of the Board of the Staatsgalerie and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg. Only on the basis of the dossier will it be possible to find a possible »just and fair« solution. It is expected that an external provenance researcher will work on this restitution claim from August 2023.

funded by

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