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Every work of art carries with it not only the history of its creator, but of its owners as well. Provenance—the record of ownership for a work of art—provides important documentation explaining who, at various points in history, owned the painting, sculpture or artifact at hand. This is an especially important issue for museums, who pay careful attention to provenance to confirm the authenticity of a work of art and its rightful ownership.
Provenance can be difficult to determine. Records may be missing or incomplete. In the worst case scenario, they may be falsified. According to the Toledo Museum of Art’s collections policies, the Museum cannot keep a work of art in our collection when there is compelling evidence that it belongs to someone else. In these cases museums, including the Toledo Museum of Art, make every effort to return works of art to their rightful owners, under guidelines set by their national and international governing bodies. The Museum has returned two such objects since 2011 and is investigating other objects. We have also done extensive research on items in our collection acquired during the Nazi era and the aftermath of WWII. In an effort to be transparent, information on all of these cases is listed in this section of our website. Public input and additional information is welcomed.
The Toledo Museum of Art’s investigations are ongoing and include new acquisitions. The information included in our online Provenance Research Project document will be updated periodically. If you have any questions or information about the works in the Toledo Museum of Art’s collection, please feel free to contact us in writing at:
Provenance Research Project
The Toledo Museum of Art
Toledo, Ohio 43697
The Nazi Era Provenance Research Report is provided below.