Conservation and looted art: Issues concerning provenance and good title when conserving or restoring art

Lawrence M. Kaye


There has been much written in recent years about the theft of art and cultural property, ranging from the smuggling of antiquities from foreign countries-including the artifacts looted from the Baghdad Museum-to the plunder of art by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The possibility that objects of art or cultural property may be stolen or have questionable provenance naturally affects conservators or restorers and may directly impact their obligations with regard to a work they may be treating. Therefore, conservators and restorers-and attorneys who work with them-must understand the legal issues surrounding the theft, looting, and smuggling of cultural property in order to ascertain whether there is a question as to good title and what actions or obligations are implicated. This paper will address these and related issues.

2007 | Richmond | Volume 14