The Louvre Is Bringing in Experts From Sotheby’s to Hunt for Looted Artworks in Its Storied Collection

The experts will spend three years researching the museum's collection.

The Louvre. Photo by Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images.

The Louvre in Paris has formed an agreement with Sotheby’s allowing the auction house to investigate the provenance of museum artworks acquired between 1933 and 1945.

The three-year partnership, during which scholars from the Sotheby’s restitution department will undertake research, will include digitizing and photographing artworks and organizing seminars, according to a statement.

The auction house’s restitution department, which has four staffers, was founded in 1997, one year after the Washington Conference on Stolen Nazi Art, at which 11 principles were drawn up regarding restitution and agreed upon by by 44 attending states.

According to the auction house, the department has helped to resolve issues relating to hundreds of artworks with an aggregate value of nearly $1 billion.

The partnership will be inaugurated at the Louvre with a conference focused on the art market during the Nazi Occupation of France. Among the events will be the screening of Vassili Silovic’s 2021 documentary, The Art Market During the Nazi Occupation, based on a book by Emmanuelle Polack.

Speakers will include the Laurence des Cars, the president and director of the Louvre, and David Zivie, the head of restitution in France’s Ministry of Culture.


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