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Background of the Works of Art

Event Series Dealing with Provenace Research Starts November 12 at Freie Universität

№ 328/2012 from Oct 31, 2012

The “Degenerate Art” Research Center at Freie Universität Berlin is hosting a lecture series devoted to the origin of paintings. The series will start on November 12 with a lecture by Detective Chief Commissioner René Allonge. The lead detective investigating the art forgery scandal involving the so-called Jaeger Collection will give insight into provenance research conducted by the police. Another lecture will describe the work of editors who compile directories of art works. Films will be shown depicting the incorporation of confiscated art in propaganda films and the topics of robbery and looted art in American movies. The events are open to the public, and advance registration is not required.

The series is part of the curriculum for provenance research at the Department of History and Cultural Studies. It is intended to direct attention to current and historical settings. The world's first university degree program in provenance research was initiated during the 2011 spring/summer semester at Freie Universität Berlin. Courses were added for the beginning of the 2012/13 fall/winter semester. The courses focus on the location and change of ownership of works of art that took place by force during the Nazi regime. The program focuses on conveying the historical context as theoretical background, while teaching the practical application of research methods. The students supplement the knowledge acquired in the program through guided research and related internships in Berlin archives and museums or with art dealers. This opens the door to a variety of careers.

The new accompanying program aims to spotlight current cases of applied provenance research as well as the reception of historical events in movies and popular literature. One event per month is scheduled. The series will be continued during the spring semester.

Time and Location

  • First event: November 12, 2012, 8 p.m. Lecture by René Allonge: "Possibilities of Provenance Research from a Police Perspective"
  • Room A 127, Koserstraße 20; subway station: Podbielskiallee (U3).

Next Events

  • December 12, 2012, 7 p.m.: American Movie Night with a scholarly introduction by Dr. Stephanie Tasch, Lecture Hall B, Koserstraße 20
  • January 9, 2013, 7 p.m.: "Venus in Court" (Hans H. Zerlett, 1941/42), with a scholarly introduction by Dr. Meike Hoffmann and Dr. h. c. Andreas Hüneke, Lecture Hall B, Koserstraße 20
  • February 4, 2013, 8 p.m.: Prof. Dr. Aya Soika: "Provenance Information in the Catalog Raisonné of Max Pechstein's Paintings,“ Room A 127, Koserstraße 20´

Further Information

Dr. Meike Hoffmann, Freie Universität Berlin, Art History Department, “Degenerate Art” Research Center (an initiative of the Ferdinand Möller Foundation), Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-54523, Email: