WWII-Era Provenance Research

The urgency with which museums pursue provenance research – meaning research on the chain of ownership of works of art – has increased in recent years. Since 1997, both the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) have urged American museums to reaffirm their commitment to a series of standards governing provenance research in order to guarantee that they have clear title to the works of art in their care. According to these guidelines museums have been charged with identifying European paintings with incomplete or questionable provenance during the Nazi era, and making this information publicly available. At the IMA, systematic provenance research was started in 2003, and research results and new findings are posted regularly on the World War II-era Provenance Research Project portion of our website.

About the Project

Learn more about the IMA’s WW II-Era Provenance Project.


This database identifies paintings in the IMA’s collection that have provenance gaps in the period 1933 to 1945.

Case Studies

A number of case studies provide in-depth information about the WW II-era provenance of paintings in the IMA’s collection

Additional Reading & Resources

Find a list of books and films that address the subject of Nazi looting of art and subsequent attempts at restitution.