Apr 3, 2020

Curt Valentin in provenances at the Harvard Art Museums

- The Persistent Crime of Nazi-Looted Art, by Sophie Gilbert, in The AtlanticLooted Art

The director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Alfred H. Barr Jr. used art dealer Curt Valentin as an intermediary to secretly purchase artworks confiscated by Nazis from German museums. What else did Barr and other American museums directors purchase through Valentin?

In this next series of posts, we will look at the provenances of artworks that mention Curt Valentin. 

An interesting exercise for young art historians and provenances researchers is to examine each provenance with the questions: 

1) Who owned this artwork before Curt Valentin? 

2) Are there provenance gaps for the years 1933-1945?

3) What share of artworks that mention Curt Valentin in the provenance lack information about sellers, dates and places for the Nazi years? (0-25%; 26-50%; 51%-75%; 76%-100%).

4) What possible explanations might there be for the observations in 3)?

5) What actions does this suggest?

1. Mentions of Curt Valentin in the provenances of artworks at the Harvard Art Museums

See  Valentin Harvard Art Museums Provenance

for more information on Curt Valentin's role in bringing European art into American museums, see:

MoMA’s Problematic Provenances by William D. Cohan published November 17, 2011 by Artnews

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