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  • Joachim Sieber

Private tour through the exhibition “Provenienzen im Fokus” at Kunsthaus Zürich

On 5th of september I had the pleasure to guide a groupe of Members of AG Swiss through the exhibition "Provenienzen im Fokus" at Kunsthaus Zürich. An exhibition which I realised througout a provenance project in collaboration with Silja Meyer and Simone-Tamara Nold between 2017 and 2019 at the graphic departement of the museum.

Supported by a grant from the Federal Office of Culture, the provenance project aimed to research and make public the provenances of all new acquisitions made by the Collection of Prints and Drawings from 1933 to 1950. During this period, some 10,000 works on paper were donated to or acquired by the Collection. The research project focused on some 3,900 items.None of the works showed clear evidence of having changed hands due to confiscation and therefore being Nazi-looted art. Approximately two thirds of the provenances can be classified as unproblematic and complete, or as incomplete but without any indication of questionable changes of ownership. In the remaining cases the previous owner at least was successfully identified, but there is a need for further research.

Therefore the Kunsthaus has established a permanent provenance research post to ensure that further sections of the Collection of Prints and Drawings and the collections of paintings and sculptures can be scientifically appraised and the results published. Assembled by Kunsthaus provenance researcher Joachim Sieber, the ‘Focus on provenance’ presentation in the collection galleries is designed to foster interest in research into the backgrounds of artworks, which is normally conducted away from the public gaze. Increasing use is to be made of online databases, which can be updated whenever needed and allow the extensive results to be presented in greater detail and reach audiences beyond visitors to the museum.

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