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'Focus on provenance' continues at the Kunsthaus Zurich until 22 September
Edvard Munch, Kopf bei Kopf, 1905. Woodblock print, blue, brownish-red, green and red on yellowish paper, 39.5 x 54 cm. Kunsthaus Zürich.

ZURICH.- To accompany the exhibition ‘Hour Zero’, in which 70 works of art reveal the full extent of the artistic energies tied up by the Second World War and released when it ended, the Kunsthaus has organized a special presentation of results from a research project, supported by the Federal Office of Culture, into works on paper acquired by the Collection of Prints and Drawings.

In all, 3,900 works that entered the Collection of Prints and Drawings between 1933 and 1950 were investigated. One outcome of the project is that none of them has been declared looted art. Two thirds can be categorized as unproblematic. In the remaining cases, the previous owner has at least been identified but further research is still needed. The results from the works on paper investigated have been published in the ‘Provenance research’ section of the Kunsthaus website. Some are also available in the online collection, which has likewise been developed with support from the Federal Office of Culture, and where research can be extended to paintings and sculptures in the Kunsthaus Collection.

The Kunsthaus has established a permanent provenance research post to ensure that further sections of the Collection of Prints and Drawings and the collections of paintings and sculptures can be scientifically appraised and the results published. Assembled by Kunsthaus provenance researcher Joachim Sieber, the ‘Focus on provenance’ presentation in the collection galleries is designed to foster interest in research into the backgrounds of artworks, which is normally conducted away from the public gaze. Increasing use is to be made of online databases, which can be updated whenever needed and allow the extensive results to be presented in greater detail and reach audiences beyond visitors to the museum.

The catalogue accompanying the ‘Hour Zero’ exhibition (published by Scheidegger & Spiess, 70 ill., 128 pp.) also explores the Kunsthaus’s purchasing policy in the period between 1933 and 1950 and presents some interesting cases of provenance research in detail. It is available from the Kunsthaus shop and bookstores, price CHF 25.

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