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Provenance: Exposing the Spoils of War by Simon Goodman

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March 1, 2017, The Getty Center
Lecture by Simon Goodman
Welcome by Thomas W. Gaehtgens

Simon Goodman’s book, The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family’s Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis (2015), is a fascinating true story—at once a family history, a glimpse of Jewish life in Germany before the Holocaust, an exposé of the Nazi looting machine, and a revealing study of the evolving attitudes toward restitution of looted art in the wake of World War II.

Through painstaking provenance research that extended across two continents, and drawing from the Getty Provenance Index® databases and archival collections, Goodman’s quest led to the recovery of hundreds of his family’s possessions and the restoration of their legacy. His efforts helped change international policy regarding art restitution. His work led to the first Nazi looting case to be settled in the United States and contributed to the first major restitution in The Netherlands since the 1950s.

This lecture highlights the many advantages researchers enjoy today, in the digital age, compared to the inaccessibility of the art world immediately following the war.