Friday, 2 December 2011

Who Owns What: Nazi-Art Looting and the Question of Restitution

By S.N.

Nazi-looted art continues to be a controversial topic for museums in the present day. Museum Trustees and Directors should be aware of the provenance of their collections, and if they are the owners of stolen goods from Jewish victims, they should follow the numerous different professional and ethical codes presented by international societies, governments, and organizations.
Target audience: Museum Trustees and Directors, particularly in European countries

S.N. will comment on her topic and creative process below.


  1. I chose to research this subject because I have known about Nazi-looted art for a few years but have never looked deeply into the issue. In 2004 I went on the March of the Living, which is a group that travels to many of the concentration camps and then later travels to Israel, to honor the dead and celebrate the survival of the Jewish population. I have heard personal accounts of Holocaust survivors throughout my life and am aware that as time passes, the living must keep their stories and memories alive. Many people believe that because the Holocaust happened decades ago, all of the Nazi-looted goods have been returned by now. This is anything but true, and I believe that the public should be aware of this in order to have proper restitution occur. Silence is the enemy for this issue, and the more information is available to people the more likely people will have their personal possession returned to them.

    Because this is a rather dark issue, I decided to create a certain mood for my poster. Much of the stolen art was hidden in salt mines and tunnels, so I decided to place my poster in that setting. I wanted to use the juxtaposition of the past and present with the format of the old newspaper because even though these horrific acts took place a few decades ago, the issue is still very current and has not been resolved.

  2. I used photoshop for the creation of this poster. I took an image of an old newspaper and erased the text and images from the original in order to display my text and images. I found an image of a tunnel and created it as my main backdrop. It was difficult to have the backdrop visual as well as the text readable, so I had to make some cuts with the text. Otherwise, there would have been too much to read, and it would not have been legible.

  3. I typed my text in and played with the perspective of the newspaper. With the photo of the tunnel, I was unable to angle the paper to face the viewer, so the paper had to be angled away from the viewer. During the whole process, I was able to edit my text, and I originally started with much more. Eventually, I decided that with the annotated bibliography at the end, it was too cluttered with text.

  4. I should add that with the use of layers in Photoshop one is able to edit throughout the whole creation process.


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