Sources for Provenance Research

This list contains selected primary documents, monographs, and electronic resources cataloged by the Clark Art Institute library that may be of use to researchers tracing the ownership and movement of art objects over time, with particular emphasis on the World War II era.


Pearson, David. Provenance Research in Book History: A Handbook.London: The British Library, 1994. [NE900 P43]

Yeide, Nancy H. The AAM Guide to Provenance Research. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2001. [N9160 Y45]

Selected General Studies

Akinsha, Konstantin. Beautiful Loot: The Soviet Plunder Of Europe's Art Treasures. New York: Random House, 1995. [N9160 A33]

Bruckler, Theodor. Kunstraub, Kunstbergung und Restitution in Österreich, 1938 bisHeute. Wien: Böhlau, 1999. [N9165 A88 B78]

Farmer, Walter I. The Safekeepers: A Memoir of the Arts at the End of World War II. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2000. [N9165 G4 F37]

Feliciano, Hector. The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World’s Greatest Works of Art. New York: Basic Books, 1997. [N9174 F45 E]

Kowalski, Wojciech. Art Treasures and War: A Study on the Restitution of Looted Cultural Property, Pursuant to Public International Law. Leicester, UK: Institute of Art and Law, 1998. [N9160 K68]

Nicholas, Lynn H. The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War. New York: Knopf, Distributed by Random House, 1994. [N9160 N53]

Petropoulos, Jonathan. Art as Politics in the Third Reich. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. [N8727 P47]

-----. The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. [N9165 G4 P4]

Simpson, Elizabeth. The Spoils of War: World War II and its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance, and Recovery of Cultural Property. New York: Abrams, 1997. [N9160 S66 1995]

Additional Titles

Locate other titles held by the Clark library by selecting ADVANCED KEYWORD in the library catalog and typing s: followed by your search terms. For example, s: art thefts

Periodical Literature

An extensive, annotated bibliography of journal and newspaper literature can be found on The National Archives and Record Administration's Holocaust-Era Assets Bibliography: Looted Art website.

Records of Lost Works

The resources listed below provide photographs and other documentation on works of art reported missing or stolen from public and private collections during World War II.


Committee on the Preservation and Restitution of Works of Art, Archives and Other Material in Enemy Hands. Works of Art in Austria (British zone of occupation): Losses and Survivals in the War. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1946. [N9165 A88 G7]


Office de récupération économique.Répertoire d'oeuvres d'art dont la Belgique a été spoliée durant la guerre 1939-1945. Brussels: Royaume de Belgique, 1948. [N9165 B4 B4]

Missing Art Works of Belgium. Bruxelles: Ministère des affaires économiques, 1994. [N9165 B4 B3]


Répertoire des biens spoliés en France durant la guerre, 1939-1945List of property removed from France during the war 1939-1945. Tome II: Tableaus, tapisseries et sculptures. Berlin: Impr. Nationale, 1947. [Rare Book Room N9165 F7 G4]

Schloss Collection, Non-Restituted Works Looted 1943-1998. Published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this website lists over one hundred works still missing from the collection of Adolphe Schloss as of July 1, 1997. Includes images, descriptive information, and cross-references to Répertoire de biens spoliés.


Bernhard, Marianne. Verlorene Werke der Malerei in Deutschland in der Zeit von 1939 bis 1945: Zerstörte und Verschollene Gemälde aus Museen und Galerien. Munich: Ackermanns, 1965. [N9165 G4 B47]


Laszlo Mravik. The ‘Sacco di Budapest’ and Depredation of Hungary, 1938-1949: Works of Art Missing from Hungary as a Result of the Second World War. Budapest: Hungarian National Gallery, 1998. [N9165 H8 M73]


Works of Art in Italy: Losses and Survivals in the War. Compiled from War Office Reports by the British Committee on the Preservation and Restitution of Works of Art, Archives, and Other Material in Enemy Hands. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1945-46. [N9165 I8 G7]

Morozzi, Luisa. Treasures Untraced: An Inventory of the Italian Art Treasures Lost during the Second World War. Rome: Instituto poligrafico e zecca dello stato, 1995. [N 9165 I8 063 E]

Treasures Untraced: Art Treasures Removed from Italy during the war period 1940-1945. Interministerial Commission for Art Works, Italy. Lists more than 2,500 objects, accompanied by 280 photographs. Based on the Treasures Untracedcatalog, above.


Venema, Adriaan. Kunsthandel in Nederland, 1940-1945. Amsterdam: Arbeiderspers, 1986. [N8620 V46]

Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen Koenigs Collection. Missing Old Master Drawings from the Franz Koenigs Collection Claimed by the State of The Netherlands. The Hague: Netherlands Office for Fine Arts, 1989. [N2505 A9 K6 1989]

Marks of Ownership

Physical evidence of past owners--such as stamps, inscriptions and bookplates--are important clues in piecing together a picture of ownership and descent over time. The sources listed below may be helpful for identifying and deciphering known collectors’ marks.

Fagan, Louis. Collectors' Marks, Arranged and Edited by Milton I.D. Einstein and Max A. Goldstein. St. Louis: The Laryngoscope Press, 1918. [N5200 A1 F3]

Lugt, Frits. Les marques de collections de dessins et d'estampes: marques estampillées et écrites des collections particulières et publiques, marques de marchands, de monteurs et d'imprimeurs, cachets de vente d'artistes décédés, marques de graveurs apposées après le tirage des planches, timbres d'édition, etc. La Haye: M. Nijhoff, 1956. [N5200 A1 L8 Repr]

Ricci, Seymour de. English Collectors of Books and Manuscripts (1530-1930) and Their Marks of Ownership. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1930. [NE900 R53]


Selected Sales Indices and Auction Catalogues

Annuaire général des ventes publiques en France. Paris: Editions Art et Technique, 1942-1943. Volume 2 has supplement: Les ventes en Belgique. [N8640 A54]

Art Prices Current.1907-1916; 1921-1973. [N8640 A76]

Art Sales Catalogues, 1600-1825. Leiden : IDC, 1994. [Fiche]

Art Sales Catalogues, 1826-1860. Leiden: IDC, 1997. [Fiche]
Based on volumes 1 and 2 of Frits Lugt's Répertoire des catalogues deventes publiques intéressant l'art ou la curiosité, the collection comprises 13,110 filmed catalogues representing 11,303 Lugt numbers. A descriptive guide accompanies the collection.

ArtNet. Searchable database of auction sales results, 1993-present. Covers paintings, sculpture and works on paper, but not decorative arts. Most records include images.[Subscription resource available on site only] .

Fredericksen, Burton B. Corpus of Paintings Sold in the Netherlands during the Nineteenth Century. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Information Institute, 1998. [Reference N8640 C67]

---. The Index of Paintings Sold in the British Isles during the Nineteenth Century. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 1988-1996. [Reference N8640 I53]

Scipio: Art and Rare Book Sales Catalogs. A web-based union catalog of auction catalogues held by the Clark Art Institute and nineteen other research libraries in the United States and Canada. Searchable by date of sale, auction house, and catalogue title, as well as by collector's name. [Subscription resource available on site only.]

Archival Collections, Dealers' and Gallery Records

Archives of American Art. Guide to Commercial Art Gallery Records. Many of these collections contain financial records, correspondence, and photographic documentation of objects acquired and sold in the twentieth century.

Clark Art Institute. Duveen Collection. Includes ledgers documenting the sale and trade of pre-nineteenth-century Italian art, 1916-1927, and a collection of dealer and conservator photographs that may be helpful for researching provenance.

Getty Research Institute, Nazi-Era Research Assets. A list describing the Library's major archival holdings relating to Nazi-era looting and post-war dissemination of stolen art.

Records and Research at the National Archives and Records Administration. A descriptive guide to records on holocaust-era assets at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Includes a guide to the Office of Strategic Services' Art Looting Investigation Unit Reports, and other sets of key records.

Related Links

Art Loss Register. The world's largest private database of stolen and missing works of art and antiques. Includes numerous records for works looted from public and private collections between 1933 and 1945.

The Commission for Art Recovery. A project of the World Jewish Congress dedicated to reuniting works of art looted by the Nazis with their rightful owners or heirs.

The Documentation Project. The Project for the Documentation of Wartime Cultural Loses, based at Loyola University, compiles digitized copies of important documents relating to the theft and recovery of cultural property.

European Commission on Looted Art (ECLA). The commission responsible for all matters relating to Nazi looted art and other cultural property in Europe. Assists families, communities, and institutions with the research, identification, and recovery of looted cultural property.

First Internet Research Catalog (Verlustkatalog). Established by the Koordinierungstelle der Länder für die Rückführung von Kulturgütern (Coordination Office of the Federal States for the Return of Cultural Treasures) to keep close contact with all affected museums, libraries, and archives and to collect the missing objects and the research results in a database especially designed for this purpose.

Lost Art Internet Database. A project of the Federal Government of Germany and the federal states of Germany for registering cultural assets that were relocated, transported and, especially with regard to Jewish citizens, confiscated as a result of their persecution during World War II and the Nazi period.

Musees nationaux recuperation. A searchable catalog of 2,000 unclaimed works of art recovered after World War II, and held in the care of the National Museums of France.

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