Collected. Bought. Looted? Provenance Research at the Weltkulturenmuseum Frankfurt


  • Vanessa von Gliszczynski Curator, South-East Asia
  • Julia Friedel Weltkulturen Museum



provenance research, Africa, South East Asia, Colonialism


The question of how objects arrived in a museum has by now become an integral part of academic discussion. For several years, ethnological museums have also placed greater emphasis on the history of their collections and investigated the paths of their items. German museums face a two-fold challenge in this endeavour, since both the acquisitions during colonial times and those during the Nazi period need to be critically questioned. Sometimes these areas overlap, for example when objects from colonial regions were purchased under conditions of Nazi occupation. The complexity of the subject is illustrated by the wealth of current research projects, conferences and publications about provenance research in ethnological collections.
A critical reappraisal of the collection is also a major research focus at the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt. Initial results will be presented in the exhibition entitled “Collected. Bought. Looted?”, due to open in the museum in August 2018. To emphasize the entanglement between the National Socialist era and the colonial period, the article will present case studies of acquisitions from both backgrounds.




How to Cite

von Gliszczynski, V., & Friedel, J. (2018). Collected. Bought. Looted? Provenance Research at the Weltkulturenmuseum Frankfurt. Journal for Art Market Studies, 2(2).