Harper Government Invests in Research on Holocaust-Era Artworks

Apr 24, 2013, 13:00 ET from Canadian Heritage

OTTAWA, April 24, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced funding of almost $200,000 that will enable Canadian museums to contribute to a key international research effort on the provenance of Holocaust-era works of art.

The theft and displacement of art and other cultural property occurred on an unprecedented scale in the context of the Second World War. In partnership with six Canadian museums, the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization will undertake research and develop best-practice guidelines to help the Canadian museum community address the issue of Nazi-looted art. The project will also raise the international profile of Canada in this field.

"Our Government has undertaken a range of efforts to identify and facilitate the return of Nazi- confiscated art," said Minister Moore. "The Department of Canadian Heritage, its portfolio agencies, and the Canadian museum community are working together to advance provenance research, and a number of looted artworks have already been returned from Canadian collections."

The implementation of this project coincides with the beginning of Canada's term as Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, under the leadership of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Chairman Dr. Mario Silva. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is comprised of 31 member countries committed to Holocaust education, remembrance, and research—both nationally and internationally.

"Our Government is proud to support projects that enable Canadian museums and art galleries to further their research on the provenance of art. It is an important initiative for researchers and heirs around the world who are trying to identify and locate artworks and other cultural artifacts displaced during the Holocaust," said Minister Kenney during a conference at Carleton University, entitled If Not Now When? Responsibility and Memory After the Holocaust, held in recognition of Canada's position as Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

"The Canadian Art Museum Directors' Organization believes that empowering the museum community by providing best-practice guidelines will give institutions the tools needed to further advance provenance research on relevant works," said Dr. Josephine Mills, President of the Canadian Art Museum Directors' Organization. "With the support of the Government of Canada, directors of Canadian art museums and galleries will develop their professional expertise and contribute to the international call for transparency, justice and closure, in one of the most sordid chapters of 20th century history."

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $190,965 for this project through the Collections Management component of the Museums Assistance Program. This Department of Canadian Heritage program provides funding to Canadian museums and related institutions for projects that foster excellence in museum activities and that facilitate access to the treasures of our collective heritage.

SOURCE Canadian Heritage