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25 years of art restitution law

25 years of art restitution law

In the photo: Secretary of State for Art and Culture Andrea Meyer with (from left to right): Sabine Luitfellner (author), Birgit Kirchmeier and Pia Schulenberger (editors of the anthology “Recovered. 25 years of the Arts Restoration Act in Austria”), Cornelius Obonia (actor/ Reading), Clemens Jabloner (Chairman of the Arts Recovery Advisory Board), Ethel Merhout (vocals), Belloche Corini (piano)

Photo: BMKÖS/HBF/Pusch

The Art Restoration Act remains unique in the world today. It entered into force on 5 December 1998. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sport invited people to attend a ceremony on 5 December 2023 at the former headquarters of the State Bank on the Hohenstaufengasse in Vienna.

Many guests participated in the celebration, including heirs of formerly persecuted collectors, museum directors, members of the Art Recovery Advisory Board, and researchers of the provenance of works of art. The event was opened by Secretary of State for Arts and Culture Andrea Meyer and Chairman of the Arts Response Advisory Board, Klemens Jabloner.

Secretary of State for Arts and Culture Andrea Mayer:

Minister of State Andrea Mayer

I want to thank all the people who ensure that the provenance of federal collections and the recovery of works of art in our country are of the highest quality, and who always keep an eye on the people behind these pieces.

At the same time, October 7, 2023 made us painfully aware of where the vanishing point lies in our culture of remembrance: in our willingness to stand at any time against the very form of exclusion and oppression of people – against anti-Semitism. Of all kinds.

Anti-Semitism has no place in our society. It is the duty of all of us to continue to bear responsibility to those who have been persecuted and their families, and by extension to ourselves.”

Clemens Jabloner, Chairman of the Advisory Board for Art Recovery:

Clemens Jabloner is Chairman of the Advisory Board for Art Recovery

Researching, retelling and documenting the fates of many people from different social classes is an important and beautiful task. It is essential for Austrian memory and for the family memory of all those descendants who, after many decades, not only recover a rather valuable piece, but also part of their origins and identity is confirmed. This is where the rigor, curiosity and commitment of source researchers and their ministerial control lies.”

Selections “Returned. 25 years of Austria’s art restitution law”

Cover an anthology of 25 years of Austria's art restitution law

The selection comes on the 25th anniversary of the Art Restitution Act taking effect I repeat. 25 years of the Art Restitution Act in Austria Published by Chernin-Verlag.

The ninth volume of the series is introduced by editors Birgit Kirchmeier and Pia Schulenberger. At the event, writer Sabine Luitfellner and actor Cornelius Obonia, who lent his voice to the late author Leonard Weidinger, delivered exemplary case studies from the volume.

Birgit Kirchmeier, Pia Schulenberger (eds.)
Restores 25 years of Austria’s art restitution law
Chernin Publishing House

about this subject

Since 1998, 103 Advisory Board meetings have been held and a total of 401 cases have been dealt with. Return was recommended in 342 cases. The recommendations have been implemented 100% by all responsible ministers.


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