Contemporary history of Luxembourg

Provenance Research at the MNAHA, the National Library and the Musée de la Ville – Villa Vauban

15 May 2024

Research seminar with Yasmina Zian, Anna Jagos and, Marc Adam Kolakowski.


The ProviLux research project focuses on the issue of looted cultural property in the collections of three institutions in Luxembourg: the National Library, the National Museum, and the Villa Vauban Art Collection, part of the City Museum of Luxembourg (Les 2 Musées de la Ville de Luxembourg). The signing of an agreement between the Jewish Consistory and the State of Luxembourg on January 27, 2021, marked a key moment in the launch of provenance research in the country's major cultural institutions. This initiative involves mapping wartime acquisitions, examining archival documentation and the provenance of art objects, and evaluating the data collected during the pilot phase of the ProviLux project.

Anna Jagos will present the art collection of the Villa Vauban, which has been owned by the City of Luxembourg since the late 19th century. This part of the project examines the provenance of the art objects acquired between 1940 and 1945 and investigates the involvement of the municipal administration in the acquisition, storage and redistribution of looted cultural property. It also examines subsequent post-war acquisitions and the institution's acquisition policies, recognizing that the majority of the collection was purchased on the post-war art market, often without adequate provenance documentation.

Yasmina Zian will show how various looted objects from non-Jewish sources arrived at the museum during the war and present a case study of provenance research on looted Jewish collections that she conducted as part of her research at the Musée National d'Archéologie, d'Histoire et d'Art. 

Marc Adam Kolakowski will present his research on the archives of the Landesbibliothek, a project for a national library in Luxembourg based on the cultural policies of the Third Reich, and of the Commission du Livre, which, after the liberation, was responsible for returning books confiscated during the occupation to their rightful owners.


Wednesday, 15 May 2024


C²DH Open Space (4th floor, Maison des Sciences humaines)