Reflecting on Restitution

25 years of the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art

  • Event date 2023
  • Event location Worldwide
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Christie’s Restitution department will honour the 25th anniversary of the Washington Principles in 2023 with a global series of events and initiatives.

In December 1998, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum brought together participants from 44 countries and 13 non-governmental organizations, as well as observers from art museums and auction houses, to Washington, D.C., to address the widespread loss and confiscation of art during the Holocaust era. This group established and publicly shared 11 Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, which offered a new way forward for victims and their heirs to research, locate, and, where possible, recover missing art and lost histories. The Washington Principles have ushered in a new wave of art restitution and they are the foundation of Christie’s approach to art and cultural valuables that were lost during the Nazi-era and to the work of its Restitution Department.

During 2023, scholars, legal experts, researchers and interested parties will meet in Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin, London, New York as well as throughout the United States to share and discuss important stories, ideas and perspectives. Christie’s Reflecting on Restitution programme begins on 27 January, when visitors will be welcomed to an inaugural public exhibition at Christie’s galleries in Paris. Throughout the year, global audiences will be invited to engage with the programme through other in-person opportunities as well as Christie’s dedicated website, featuring recordings of selected events, stories of important restitutions, as well as a virtual walking tour of historic sites throughout Berlin.

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Viewing room: Property from The Collection of Viennese Cabaret and Film Star Fritz Grünbaum

View past panels

Otto Mueller Waldlandschaft

VIDEO

In Conversation with the 2023 Grant Recipients

20 May 2024
Virtual

Join panelists and moderator Sarah Done in conversation about the current body of scholarly work made possible by the 2023 Grant for Nazi-era Provenance Research

Restitution Grant

VIDEO

A Conversation with Jonathan Petropoulos & Ray Dowd

18 October 2023
San Francisco

Recovering the Egon Schiele works of The Fritz Grünbaum Collection

Restitution

VIDEO

Reflecting on Restitution: A roundtable discussion

5 October 2023
New York

The New York roundtable was hosted by Marc Porter, Christie's Chairman, Americas and moderated by Richard Aronowitz, Christie's Global Head of Department and featured keynote speaker Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, drafter of the Washington Principles and Christie’s Advisory Board Member who was joined by Simon Goodman, author of 'The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family’s Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis'; MacKenzie Mallon, Provenance Specialist at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and Susan de Menil, Co-Founder, Art, Antiquities, and Blockchain Consortium.

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© The Ardizzone Trust

VIDEO

London Calling: Nazi-era Restitution from the 1943 ‘London Declaration’ to the Washington Principles and Beyond

20 June 2023
London

Marc Porter, Anthea Peers and Richard Aronowitz invite you to a roundtable discussion on London Calling: Nazi-era Restitution from the 1943 ‘London Declaration’ to the Washington Principles and Beyond together with Anne Webber, Imke Gielen, Jacques Schuhmacher, and Till Vere-Hodge.

Restitution

Video

Fragments of Collections by Raphaël Denis: A conversation with the artist

27 January 2023
Paris

From 27 January to 10 February 2023, Christie’s was pleased to present Fragments of Collections by Raphaël Denis, an exhibition which explored the question of looting of works of art that occurred in France during the Second World War. Artist-researcher Raphaël Denis has been developing the set of installations entitled La Loi normale des erreurs for almost ten years.


Restitution

Video

The Recovery of the Bloch-Bauer Klimt Paintings

4 May 2023
Vienna

Angela Baillou, Managing Director, Austria, Christie’s and Richard Aronowitz, Global Head of Department, Restitution, Christie’s host a virtual talk on The Recovery of the Bloch-Bauer Klimt Paintings.

Lost Berlin: Retracing the Weimar-Era Art World

This interactive tour chronicles the lost era of the Tiergartenviertel neighborhood, once the center of Berlin’s art world during the period between the two world wars. Including interactive virtual maps, texts, photographs and more, Lost in Berlin features pre-war landmarks and stories of Jewish art-world luminaries.

Grant information

Restitution

Christie’s Grant for Nazi-Era Provenance Research

In addition to the year-long global programme marking the 25th anniversary of the Washington Principles, Christie’s is delighted to announce the 2023 Christie’s Grant for Nazi-Era Provenance Research. The Grant, to be offered to three recipients (£5,000 each), will fund forward-thinking academic, post-graduate research into subjects related to Nazi-era provenance research.

Click below for more information

Special feature

Restitution

Reclaiming lost history: 25 years of the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art

The 1998 international guidelines forever changed the discourse about Nazi-confiscated art, and continue to guide the Christie’s Restitution Department today

Contact

Stories of Restitution

Celebrating the contributions of women in art restitution, on the 25th anniversary of the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art

Art World News

‘An incredible sense of purpose’: the brave women who fought for the return of Nazi-confiscated art

 
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Impressionist & Modern Art

The mystical Modernism of Franz Marc, whose art was a ‘bridge into the spirit world’

 
Reflecting on Restitution 25 Years since the Washington Principles on Nazi Confiscated Art

Artists

Adele Bloch-Bauer: Gustav Klimt’s ‘woman in gold’

 
Restitution

Old Masters

Restitution: how these Old Master works confiscated by the Gestapo were returned more than six decades later

 
Returned to its rightful owners after nearly 80 years

Old Masters

Returned to its rightful owners after nearly 80 years

 

Explore more from Christie’s Restitution

Restitution

For over a quarter of a century, Christie’s has engaged with the legacy of Nazi era and World War II art theft and dispossession. Losses during 1933–1945 to Europe’s collections, in particular those of Jewish collectors, through persecution, confiscation, and forced sales continues to resonate strongly in today’s art world. Christie’s has the largest and most experienced Restitution team of any international auction house, underscoring our responsibility to this field.

We invite you to explore our work in Restitution.

To learn more about the Holocaust please visit: Yad Vashem