German /American Provenance Research Exchange Program for Museum Professionals, 2017-2019

Addthis Share Tools

  • 1st PREP Exchange at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • 2nd PREP Exchange at SPK
  • 3rd PREP Exchange at the Getty Research Institute
  • 4th PREP Exchange in Munich
  • 5th PREP Exchange in Dresden

Building a German/American Provenance Research Autobahn

The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) brings together, for the first time, museum professionals from both sides of the Atlantic who specialize in World War II-era provenance projects for a three-year, systematic exchange. The program expands and elaborates on the methods and practices with which both countries have thus far approached the issues pertaining to Holocaust-era art looting.

PREP is also widening the scope of WWII-era provenance research, which to date has given priority to painting, sculpture, and Judaica, by including Asian art, decorative arts, and works on paper.

Read more about PREP

Save the Date

6th PREP Exchange - October 20-26, 2019

PREP Washington, D.C. Press Release

Organized by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the 7 PREP Partners, Archives of American Art, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Library of Congress, National Museum of American History, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and The Phillips Collection. 

Related Programs

Save-The-Dates: October 24-26, 2019

Organized by PREP in collaboration with the German Historical Institute (GHI) and the Goethe Institut, Washington, D.C.
All events will be held at the German Historical Institute
1607 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

NGA archival image
NGA Exhibit
Man Fireplace

PREP Colloquium

PREP Talks: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Approaches/Case Studies on Provenance Research

Thursday, October 24, 2019
9:30 am – 4:00 pm

Image: Edith Standen and Rose Valland with art to be restituted to France, 1946 May/unidentified photographer. James J. Rorimer papers,
1921-1982, bulk 1943-1950, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

PREP Public Program

Nazi-Era Provenance Research:
The Importance of Transnational Exchange

Friday, October 25, 2019
5:00 – 7:00 pm

Image: Crowds attending the exhibition, Paintings from the Berlin Museums, at the National Gallery of Art, March 17-April 23, 1948. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives.

PREP Panel Discussion

Object Lessons: German and American Perspectives on Provenance Research of the Colonial and Nazi Eras

Saturday, October 26, 2019
10:30 am – 1:30 pm
Learn more about GHI

Image: Jacques Lipchitz in his Hastings-on-Hudson, New York studio, 1964 / New York Times, photographer. Jacques Lipchitz papers and Bruce
Bassett papers concerning Jacques Lipchitz, circa 1910-1999. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Program Description

What is PREP?

The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) brings together, over a three-year period, museum professionals—archivists, curators, collections managers, directors, IT specialists, lawyers, and researchers—from both sides of the Atlantic who specialize in World War II-era provenance projects. This systematic exchange elaborates and expands on the methods and practices through which both countries have approached the issues pertaining to Holocaust-era art looting. PREP has widened the scope of WWII-era provenance research, which to date has prioritized painting, sculpture, and Judaica, by including Asian art, decorative arts, and works on paper.

PREP’s core program is comprised of six week-long Exchanges, with 21-24 participants each year who have been competitively selected, with each cohort attending two Exchanges each year, one in Germany and one is the US. Each Exchange is organized by a PREP Partner Institution in collaboration with museums, archives, and research centers in their respective cities. PREP launched in 2017 with the 1st Exchange at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, followed by the 2nd Exchange, at the Berlin State Museums. In 2018, PREP began with the 3rd Exchange in Los Angeles at the Getty Research Institute, and the 4th Exchange at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich. In March 2019, the 5th Exchange was held at the Dresden State Art Collections, and the 6th and final PREP Exchange will take place at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The German Center for Lost Art in Magdeburg is a consultative partner to PREP.

Read more about PREP

What are PREP's Goals and Projected Outcomes?

PREP’S foundational goal is to establish a transatlantic network to accelerate research on WWII-era art loss. PREP introduces participants to resources and experts at institutions in both countries; provides a forum for professional growth and networking; facilitates collaborative research projects; and increases public awareness of the work of museum communities in both countries, thereby widening access to provenance resources and results.

These goals are furthered by PREP’s efforts to assure that the experience and expertise of researchers is preserved through the development of new technologies for recording and sharing of research results and sources. Through public programs and events planned in conjunction with each Exchange, and the forthcoming online publication, PREP Resources for Nazi-Era Provenance Research in Germany and the U.S., PREP disseminates its resources and outcomes to better share our research results with diverse experts and the public we serve.

Project Leadership / Projektleitung

Co-Organizers / Organisatoren

  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    Project Director: Jane Milosch
  • Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation)/Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
    Project Director: Carola Thielecke

Co-Chairs / Vorsitz

  • Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Hermann Parzinger, Präsident der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin

Steering Committee / Steuerungsausschuss

  • Christel H. Force, Senior Research Consultant, and formerly Associate Research Curator, Modern and Contemporary, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Christian Fuhrmeister, Forschungsabteilung (Research Department), Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, München
  • Sandra van Ginhoven, Head, Provenance and Collecting, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
  • Uwe Hartmann, Leiter des Fachbereichs Provenienzforschung (Head of the Provenance Research Department), Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (German Lost Art Foundation), Magdeburg
  • Gilbert Lupfer, Leiter Forschung und wissenschaftliche Kooperation (Head of Research and Scientific Cooperation), Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections)
  • Jane Milosch, Director, Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative (2008-2018); Director, Smithsonian Provenance Research Exchange Program, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 
  • Laurie Stein, Senior Provenance Advisor, Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative (2008-2018), Smithsonian Institution
  • Carola Thielecke, Justiziarin (Counsel) Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
  • Petra Winter, Director, Zentralarchiv, Staaliche Muzeen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
    Emeriti from Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles:
  • Claudia Einecke, Curator of European Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta
  • Christian Huemer, Director, Belvedere Research Center, Vienna

Project Team 

  • Colleen Carroll, PREP Project Coordinator, U.S.​, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Doris Antonides-Heidelmeyer, PREP Project Coordinator, Germany, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
  • Andrea Hull, PREP Communications and Partnerships, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

2017-2019 PREP Participants are listed in the Program Booklets

The 6 PREP Exchanges and 7 Partners

6th PREP Exchange

October 20-26, 2019

Program Booklet 
Public Program (forthcoming)

The Smithsonian Institution is the largest museum/research complex in the world. In order to aid in the identification and discovery of objects in its collections that may have been subject to questionable transfer of ownership or unlawful appropriation during the World War II Era, Smithsonian museums are working to identify all objects in their collections that were created before 1946, were acquired after 1932, that underwent a change of ownership during 1933-1945, and that were, or might have been, in continental Europe between those dates. The Smithsonian is committed to making information on these objects available to the public, as for example, with its Asian Arts Provenance Connections Project.

5th PREP Exchange

March 17-22, 2019

Press Release
Program Booklet
Public Program: The Looting and Restitution of the Gustav and Victor von Klemperer Collection
Colloquium: Kunstbesitz – Kunstverlust / Art Owned – Art Lost

The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) are among the foremost museums of the world, its 15 museums offering exceptional thematic diversity. Among its collections that address the focus of PREP are the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett, one of the world’s oldest and most significant collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; the Green Vault in Dresden’s Royal Palace, the Porcelain Collection at the Zwinger and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Pillnitz. Since 2008, the SKD has conducted comprehensive provenance research, registration, and inventory of its collections. A key instrument of the research project is the development of the museum’s “Daphne” database, to register all 1.2 million objects in SKD holdings and to facilitate the systematic provenance research of all acquisitions since 1933.

4th PREP Exchange

October 7-12, 2018

Program Booklet and Flyer
Public Program: Framing the Monuments Men: Past and Present
Colloquium: "Works on paper - A Challenge for Provenance Research" and "The Fate of Antiquities in the Nazi Era" 
Public Program: Provenance Research and Restitution: Managing Collections and Public Expectations
Public Program: Challenges of Current and Future Transnational Provenance Research

The Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (ZI) was founded in 1946 as an independent research institute in direct connection with the Central Collecting Point (CCP) of the American military government in the former Administrative Building of the National Socialist party. For 20 years the ZI has been researching and publishing its findings on the art history of National Socialism and the immediate postwar era. The ZI has one of the largest and most significant art historical libraries in the world, with 580,000 volumes and 1,140 current periodical subscriptions. These join its photographic archive (c. 900,000 items) as well as numerous international online resources and databases to make the ZI a major service institution offering outstanding opportunities for art historical research. The series of colloquia on provenance and collection research has established itself as an international platform for discussion, exchange and the presentation of projects.

3rd PREP Exchange

February 25-March 2, 2018

Press Release
Program Booklet
Public Program: Provenance Research—A Personal Concern

The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts and their various histories through its expertise, active collecting program, public programs, institutional collaborations, exhibitions, publications, digital services, and residential scholars’ programs. Its German Sales, 1930-1945: Artworks, Art Markets, and Cultural Policy, and German Sales, Phase II: 1901-1929 projects explore the wider German art trade during the first half of the 20th century. This research is important from an art-historical perspective and provides new insight into the cultural policy and political objectives of the National Socialist regime. The GRI, in partnership with the Kunstbibliothek—Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg is working towards a comprehensive dataset in the Getty Provenance Index® covering all extant auction sales held in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland during the first half of the 20th century.

2nd PREP Exchange

September 24-29, 2017

Press Release 
Program Booklet 
Public Program: What Takes so Long? Insights into the Practice of Provenance Research for Nazi-Looted Art
Public Program Press Release

The Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation/Berlin State Museums), with its museums, libraries, archives and research institutes, is one of the most important cultural institutions in the world. Its outstanding collections include all areas of worldwide cultural traditions: from archaeological and ethnological objects by way of the visual arts to literature and music. The combination of art and culture with science and research is an unmistakable hallmark of the foundation. The foundation supports in-depth scholarly and educational work, and the Central Archives of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) is a critical resource for provenance research.

1st PREP Exchange

February 5-10, 2017

Press Release
Program Booklet
Public Program: German/American Exchange on Nazi-Era Provenance Research: A Discussion with Museum Leaders

When The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870, it owned not a single work of art. Through the combined efforts of generations of curators, researchers, and collectors, its encyclopedic collection has grown to represent more than 5,000 years of art from across the globe—from the first cities of the ancient world to the works of our time. The Met is committed to ongoing research as more collector and dealer archives become available, and, with its scholarly exhibitions and publications, and through its presence online, to making its provenance research accomplished to date publicly available. 

The Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste, Magdeburg (The German Lost Art Foundation) is a PREP consulting partner, 2017-2019

Support for PREP

Sponsor logos







Major support for PREP comes through a German government grant funded by the German Program for Transatlantic Encounters, with additional financial support from Germany’s Federal Commission for Culture and Media, the program’s six key PREP partners, and the Smithsonian Women’s Committee. Additional funding comes from: Norman and Suzanne Cohn, Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, James P. Hayes, Lois Jecklin, Jerry and Gwen Paulson, Ferdinand-Möller-Stiftung, Berlin, Eskin Family Foundation, Kathryn Hughes and John Christian, Brian Daggett and Franz Rabauer, Ruth Abrahams Design, James Davison Hunter and Helen Stehlin Hunter, and Lynn H. Nicholas.

Additional Support for the 6th PREP Exchange: