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