College Hosts International Conference on Nazi-Looted Art

MORE THAN 120 attendees participated in Lafayette’s international conference Oct. 25-27 on issues related to the theft, destruction, and survival of European art under the Third Reich.

Nazi-looted art“Litigations involving looted art are still ongoing and often unresolved,” says Rado Pribic (right), Williams Professor of Languages and co-chair of international affairs, who organized the conference with Diane Cole Ahl (center), Rothkopf Professor of Art. They were assisted by EXCEL Scholar Rachel Davidson ’13, a double major in international affairs and government & law.

Jonathan Petropoulos, Croul Professor of European History, Claremont McKenna College, gave the keynote address: “Nazi Art Plundering, Post-War Restitution, and the Restitution Field Going Forward.”

Other speakers included Lucian Simmons, Sotheby’s vice president and world director of restitution; Gregor Schusterschitz, head, Department for International Law, Austrian Ministry for European Affairs, and 2011 Max Kade Distinguished Lecturer; Victoria Reed, Sadler Curator for Provenance, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Nicole Newnham, producer, The Rape of Europa; and Marc Masurovsky, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., and co-founder of Holocaust Art Restitution Project.

Students, faculty, alumni, parents, and local community members attended as well as scholars from Connecticut, New York, Washington, D.C., and Austria.

Pribic traveled to Germany and Austria to research looted art and its restitution to rightful owners. Provenance issues involve ethical, historical, and social factors as well as the various claimants including governments, museums, and galleries.

“The conference demonstrates the college’s commitment to investigating issues of global, historical, ethical, and legal significance,” says Ahl, who notes that one of her students, Alexa Biale ’12, was inspired to write a short story about a Nazi-looted work of art as a result.