Art dealer of the Avantgarde

Provenance Research Work Group

Gesa Jeuthe (Hamburg University), Britta Olényi von Husen (Museen der Stadt Köln), 2013

Due to the difficult situation regarding source material and archival material in scattered locations, intensive communication is indispensable in provenance research to be able to clarify the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of a work. For this reason four provenance researchers (Ute Haug, Hamburger Kunsthalle; Ilse von zur Mühlen, formerly Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich; Laurie A. Stein, formerly Art Institute of Chicago and Katja Terlau, formerly Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne) met in November 2000 and founded the ‘Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung’ (Provenance Research Work Group) that now has almost 100 members. The group’s intention is for academics working for public collections and institutions or in the art trade on the research of the original locations of cultural goods to exhange findings on a regular basis.

The methodology of provenance research, participation in the cultural and political discussion regarding provenance research and the creation of such a discipline in all museums are topics addressed by the work group. In conjunction with the ‘Arbeitsstelle für Provenancerecherche und – forschung’ in Berlin, project-related, systematic research on the holdings in public collections is possible within a limited time frame. For this, funds from the budget of the Representative in the Federal Government for Culture and Media have been available for several years. A web portal used by the work group, also provided by the group in Berlin, helps the exchange of information between specialists in this field too. A bi-annual specialist conference organised by the work group is an additional communication aid. In addition to the research of individual cases, research on collectors, art dealers and museums or institutions is equally vital. The exhibition project ‘Alfred Art Dealer of the Avant-Garde’ is exemplary for the intensvie cooperation among members of the Provenance Research Work Group.