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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


New Center Focuses on Ethical Art Collection

March 1, 2018 | Annetta Crecelius

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(Photos: American soldier inspects German loot stored in a church at Ellingen, Germany, April 24, 1945. Courtesy of National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.; Bowl, Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico. Courtesy of University of Denver Museum of Anthropology.)

Nearly every week, a news headline announces the latest lawsuit over a valuable work of art. Often, objects have been sold multiple times before reaching the current owner, complicating legal and ethical dimensions of the disputes.

The University of Denver's Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences will launch a new Center for Art Collection Ethics (ACE) to help increase awareness of these issues and promote art provenance (ownership) research training. ACE will serve as a training center and clearinghouse of information on cultural property issues related to Holocaust-era art, antiquities, and indigenous objects.

Elizabeth Campbell, associate professor of history and nationally recognized specialist in Nazi art looting, will serve as the Center's director with an advisory group of faculty from the School of Art and Art History, the Museum of Anthropology, University Art Collections, and the Center for Judaic Studies.

The Center's kick-off event, Whose Art? Ethical Museum Collection Stewardship,  will take place on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 as a part of DU's University College Enrichment Program. A panel of experts will discuss the legal and ethical dimensions of cultural property disputes and the importance of provenance (ownership) research in determining rightful ownership. Panelists include Christina Kreps, director of the Museum of Anthropology; Dan Jacobs, curator of University Art Collections; Kate Chimenti, provenance researcher with ARIS Title Insurance Corporation and DU alumna; and Elizabeth Campbell, director of the new Center.

Campbell will continue the conversation in three additional sessions focusing on the legacy of Nazi art looting. The course will explore the complicated history behind art dispute headlines, giving attendees a deeper understanding of why this issue is more important than ever. Sessions will take place Tuesdays, April 17, April 24, May 1, and May 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Register for the kick-off event and panel discussion Whose Art? or register for all four sessions of The Legacy of Nazi Art Looting , which includes the panel discussion.

Learn more about the Center for Art Collection Ethics, and stay tuned for the ACE blog.

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