Top museums release list of alleged Nazi-looted art

BOSTON: After testimony before the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other leading museums have released on their Web sites a list of paintings with suspicious Holocaust-era lineage.

BOSTON: After testimony before the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other leading museums have released on their Web sites a list of paintings with suspicious Holocaust-era lineage.

BOSTON: After testimony before the Presidential Advisory Commission

on Holocaust Assets last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other

leading museums have released on their Web sites a list of paintings

with suspicious Holocaust-era lineage.



While some critics hailed the posting as a step toward full disclosure,

others questioned whether such a move would mean that museums are

shifting the burden of research onto the public.



Elan Steinberg of the World Jewish Congress, a vocal museum critic,

described the move as a ’milestone.’ But Ori Soltes, chairman of the

non-profit Holocaust Art Restitution Project, expressed concern that the

release of the lists will close the door on further research.



’It’s terrific that they’re starting to make their findings public, but

I wonder whether this means that they’ll wholeheartedly continue

research as they should,’ he said.



If nothing else, the Web listings will likely stem the deluge of press

inquiries museums have received about the provenance issue over the past

two months. In his testimony last week, Met director Philippe de

Montebello chastised the media for ’rushing to judgment’ without knowing

all the facts.



Added Ed Able, president and CEO of the American Association of Museums,

’It’s irresponsible to the public and to Holocaust victims to go public

with speculation and unfinished research.’



Soltes credited the media with forcing the issue. ’It’s only when

there’s a hue and cry that they take any communications action,’ he

said.



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