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The goal of the JDCRP pilot project, The Fate of the Adolphe Schloss Collection, is to test the feasibility of building a comprehensive database containing historical-archival information about Jewish-owned cultural and artistic objects that were forcibly displaced between 1933 and 1945. This experimental project proposes a different approach than previous efforts and aims to enrich data searches, provide deeper historical context, and explore how new technologies and research methodologies can enhance users’ experiences.

Project Startup

The pilot project centers on the historical theft of a Jewish-owned art collection in order to show how the collection came into being, how it evolved and what circumstances—shaped by people, organizations, events—led to its confiscation, dispersal, and partial recovery.

The art collection selected, that of Adolphe Schloss (1842-1910), had already been researched and documented, and its history involved several countries. For those reasons, it served as the means through which to explore the various facets of the pilot project:—provenance research (the history of ownership of an art object from the time of its creation to the present day), archival research, and educational methodologies with which to deepen knowledge of the systematic theft of countless cultural and artistic objects during the Nazi era, as well as their post-1945 fate. Although the Schloss Collection consisted exclusively of old master paintings, the data model developed would accommodate all types of looted cultural and artistic objects.

It was decided to build an event-based data model in a graph database environment. This data model does not focus exclusively on objects; it also covers the events and relationships that shaped their movement. The historical data are extracted from varied sources, mostly archival and historical documentation—inventories, correspondence, reports and forms as well as auction and exhibition catalogues and dealer stock books. The combination of these different types of data in the same database environment provides tools through which users can explore the story behind specific objects and the people, entities, and events associated with them.

Therein lies the complex nature of the pilot project, which aims to facilitate the use of each piece of information in an object’s known history in relation to the people, places, entities, and events that shaped its journey. Concomitant with this complexity is the biggest challenge to reconstructing the history of an object: the inevitable gaps in the historical ownership information as well as the degrees of uncertainties inherent in the known elements of an object’s history. How can such gaps and uncertainties that are inherent to every object’s history be modeled into the database? The goal of the project is not to resolve the question of “how to fill the gaps” but to propose coherent and commonsense strategies and methods by which to alleviate and reduce them. The more that can be learned through research, the less important such gaps and uncertainties become.

As a pilot project, changes, corrections, and additions are to be expected. User feedback is most welcome at


Co-funding by the European Union of the pilot project is most gratefully acknowledged. The support of the EU has been particularly appropriate for this international, inter-disciplinary undertaking involving staff in six countries. Many thanks for their funding assistance are also due to the two founding organizations of the JDCRP Foundation—the Commission on Art Recovery (CAR) and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).

The pilot project has been led by Marc Masurovsky, Academic Director, and Avishag Ben-Yosef, Project Manager.

Administrative direction has been provided by the Board of Trustees, Rüdiger Mahlo, Chair, and the Executive Board of the JDCRP Foundation—Deidre Berger, Chair; Wesley Fisher; and Dirk Langner—as well as the following: Bianca De Angelis, Gabor Kadar, Agnes Peresztegi, Caspar Schroth, and Lilja Szekessy. Additional thanks are due Toby Axelrod, Ashley Argüello Blaison, Simone Kogge, Mary Beth Kooper, Lena Ringleb, and Nikolas Zoric.

Barely three months into the pilot project, the COVID-19 global pandemic shuttered archives, libraries, and research centers in Europe and the United States and brought to a halt all “non-essential” international flights to and from Europe. These unexpected and long-lasting events had a sizable impact on the pilot project, which could not have succeeded without the full commitment of its varied stakeholders to see it through, come what may. Everyone involved in the project, from advisors to the irreplaceable and critical data entry and research staff and digital teams, showed remarkable adaptability. They all strove to ensure that the project had proper—albeit imperfect—access to archival sources, art historical research materials, technological support, and advice.

Appreciation is extended to the numerous archivists in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, who offered ready assistance in locating and securing documents for our use, as well as to the following institutions for their permission to use documents and images from their collections: Archives des musées nationaux, Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, La Courneuve, Archives nationales, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Institut national d’histoire de l’art (France); Bundesarchiv, Koblenz (Germany); National Archives and Records Administration College Park, Maryland; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USA) .

Many thanks to officials at various ministries and government agencies; and to members of the three advisory groups for the project (see

Gratitude in particular to the data entry and research specialists who provided their valuable insights and critical inputs from their varied locations: Peggy Frankston, Saida S. Hasanagic, Claudia Hofstee, Ariane Moser, and Ruth Jolanda Weinberger.

As part of the pilot project, joint research on the postwar Munich art market was conducted with the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute for Art History) in Munich. Thanks go to Christian Fuhrmeister, Stephan Klingen, and Anne Uhrlandt. Thanks as well to Meike Hopp for her contributions to the topic.

The Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague was a major research resource, thanks to Judith Niessen.

Accolades go to those responsible for the digital work: Ruth von dem Bussche, who focused on building a graph database for the research data; and the team led by Duane Degler, Principal at Design for Context, which developed the designs for the website.

Invaluable guidance came from the members of the three pilot project advisory groups:

Archive Advisory Group: Marisa Bourgoin, Smithsonian, U.S.; Sebastien Chauffour, ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, France; Peggy Frankston, Independent Archival Researcher, France; Stefanie Jost, Bundesarchiv, Germany; Filip Strubbe, Archives de l’État en Belgique, Belgium; David Zivie, Ministère de la Culture, France; representatives of the Expertise Center Restitution, NIOD.

Digital Technology Advisory Group: Andrew DeJesse, Collective Heritage lab, U.S.; Michael Haley Goldman, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, U.S.; Stephan Klingen, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Germany; Lea Saint-Raymond, École normale supérieure, France; Sandra van Ginhoven, Getty Research Institute, U.S.; Reinier van ´t Zelfde, RKD Netherlands Institute for Art History; Ruth von dem Bussche, Independent Researcher, Germany; Leonhard Weidinger, Provenance Researcher, Austria; representatives of the Expertise Center Restitution, NIOD.

Art History, Provenance Research and Educational Matters Advisory Group: Lamia Arnaout-Le Garrec, specialist on the Schloss Collection, France; Christian Fuhrmeister, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Germany; Willi Korte, Independent Senior Provenance Researcher, U.S.; Carolin Lange, Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen in Bayern, Germany; Nathalie Neumann, Provenance Researcher, Germany/France; Judith Niessen, RKD Netherlands Institute for Art History; Alain Prévet, Ministère de la Culture, France; Victoria Reed, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, U.S.; Lynn Rother, Leuphana University, Germany; representatives of the Expertise Center Restitution, NIOD.

Exploring the Website

There are multiple entry points through which to explore the pilot website:

Schloss Collection includes a few tabs:

  • Timeline of events in the life of the collection, including the events leading to its confiscation, the confiscation itself, and the subsequent movement of its paintings. The inventory numbers of the paintings are taken from the German post-confiscation inventory.

  • Artworks comprising the Schloss Collection.

  • Inventories of the collection after its confiscation.

  • Relationships pertaining to the collection with events, people, organizations, locations and artworks.

  • Essays on the collection.

Artworks include those comprising the Adolphe Schloss Collection as well as those that Schloss himself sold. The artwork landing page is comprised of two parts. The top part details the basic cataloguing of the artwork (Title, Artist, Medium, Dimensions, and Signature); the French and German inventories number of the painting (an “L” was added to the German inventory number of the collection paintings preempted by the Louvre), Linz number and crate number (when applicable), restitution status and current holder.

The primary titles of the paintings from the Schloss Collection are in French, in line with the first post-confiscation inventory, followed by a title in German from the German inventory and a title in English. The titles of the paintings that left the collection during Schloss' lifetime are presented in the language of the original resources.

A series of archival black and white photographs of the paintings, recto and verso (when it adds information) are displayed together with Munich Central Collecting Point cards (when applicable). In a few cases, museums that are current holders of paintings from the collection have generously agreed to allow the project to display their color photographs of the paintings.

The lower part of the page includes a few tabs:

  • Provenance includes the provenance of the painting, its exhibition history and literature references.

  • Inventories conducted after the confiscation.

  • Relationships to people, organizations, locations, documents and other artworks.

People and Organizations examines the art dealers, galleries, perpetrators, Nazi agencies and other entities involved in the movement of paintings over time.

Events provide an exploration of the myriad events that together tell the story of the fate of the Adolphe Schloss Collection.

Documents from archives in France, Germany and the U.S. are displayed and linked to events, people, organizations and locations. In some cases the documents are presented along with a transcription and translation.

Each page in the website includes a search field that can be filtered (by art object, artist, person, organization, events and documents, timeframe and location), thereby assisting users who conducting narrow or broader searches.


Although the Jewish Digital Cultural Recovery Project (JDCRP) Foundation has made every effort to present the information on this website without error, no representations or warranties can be made as to the accuracy or completeness of this website.

The website is not intended to be relied upon as legal or equitable evidence of present or past ownership of the items described herein. The JDCRP Foundation assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained herein and shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. The JDCRP Foundation also assumes no liability for the accuracy of the information contained in websites linked to this website.

This website is based on information obtained by the JDCRP Foundation to date and cannot be considered exhaustive. Should new research and findings require it, changes and updates may be made to this website at any time.

As a pilot project, changes, corrections, and additions are to be expected. User feedback is most welcome at

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