Thanks to the continued support of the Federal Office of Culture, the Kunstmuseum Basel is moving forward with a systematic study of the provenance of the paintings and sculptures in its collections. The current third stage of the project is dedicated to the works of art created before 1945 that were acquired by the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel under the museum’s director Franz Meyer (1919–2007) between 1962 and 1980. The focus is once again on the Nazi period. In-depth research will reconstruct the histories of ca. 90 paintings and selected sculptures that changed hands in the international market between 1933 and 1945. The provenance research goes hand in hand with a thorough review of the museum’s archive. In the medium term, entering these materials into a web-based archive information system will facilitate complex searches and make the documents accessible to scholars.
By approving the extension of a grant to the Kupferstichkabinett (Department of Prints and Drawings), the Federal Office of Culture enables us to continue our research into a key division of the collections. The first project was dedicated to the drawings that entered the collection between 1933 and 1945. The focus of this second project is on prints acquired between 1933 and 1942. In a preliminary stage, the ca. 1,600 works to be studied were digitized. The second step is a general provenance review in which we gather information on the circumstances of accession for an initial assessment of the history of each work prior to its arrival in the collection. It will provide us with an overview of which works merit more in-depth research, which we will then undertake based on the museum’s extensive archive and scholarly research databases.
The findings from both projects will be published via our Collection Online once the research is completed.
A fourth round of funding from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (BAK) will enable the implementation of two further projects of the Kunstmuseum Basel from 2022-2023. One project is carried out by the Archives and the other by the Kupferstichkabinett.