Art Restitution

S otheby’s is committed to the resolution of problems that can arise in respect of works of art that may have been displaced between 1933 and 1945 but not subsequently returned to their original owners.

Since its founding in 1997, Sotheby’s Restitution Department has been dedicated to the ongoing identification of such objects and works in tandem with department specialists to research and thoroughly review the provenance of any work of art offered for sale. We give consignors and buyers the peace of mind of knowing that all works of art sold through Sotheby’s are vetted by our team of experts. Should a painting come to market that has questionable provenance, we work discreetly with clients to find appropriate solutions, which may involve orchestrating a mutually-acceptable settlement between the current holder and the heirs of the former owner.

If you would like advice on the provenance of your property or you would like to learn more about our work, please contact us.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the conference, held in Washington, D.C., that first established the ground rules for the restitution of art works looted by the Nazis during the Second World War. Since then, Sotheby’s Restitution Department has worked with many heirs and families to reunite them with their stolen property, but the restitution, after so many years, of Kandinsky’s Murnau mit Kirche II to the heirs of Johanna Margarete and Siegbert Stern has been especially resonant and moving, and we are so very glad that the full story will now be told.”
Lucian Simmons, Vice Chairman and Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Restitution

Past Restituted Works


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