Lunchtime Lecture: Holocaust-Era Provenance Research

This talk is part of the V&A Academy Lunchtime Lecture Series. No booking is required.

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
  • V&A South Kensington

    Cromwell Road
    London, SW7 2RL

  • The Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre

  • Free event

Lunchtime Lecture: Holocaust-Era Provenance Research photo

It is disturbing to think that when we look at the artworks on display in museums around the world, there is always a real possibility that some of these objects once belonged to victims of the Nazis – and that this possibility has remained unexplored and unacknowledged for so long. If we are willing to ask the right questions about who owned these objects in the past – about their provenance – then some of these items may speak to us about the fate of individuals and families whose lives were destroyed in the name of the Nazis’ racist ideology. At the very least, uncovering these stories allows us to reinsert lost voices into a historical record from which they have been erased. Join V&A’s Senior Provenance Research Curator, Dr Jacques Schuhmacher, who will talk about the challenges involved in this research, the aim of which is not to simply add a name and date to an object’s record for the sake of archival completeness but which serves to ensure that the Nazis’ worldview and their actions do not live on unchallenged in the galleries and storerooms of our museums today.

Dr Jacques Schuhmacher is the V&A’s Senior Provenance Research Curator, supported by the Polonsky Foundation. He is an expert in the field of Holocaust-Era provenance research. He holds a doctorate in History from the University of Oxford.

To see our full Spring 2023 Lunchtime Lecture Programme, click 'Download Programme' on the right of this screen.

Header image: Adolf Hitler inspecting confiscated artworks, 13 January 1938 (Aktion "Entartete Kunst"), photograph by Heinrich Hoffmann. © bpk, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Archiv Heinrich Hoffmann