Provenance Research, Theory and Practice: Two 2024 courses in Amelia, Italy this summer

Acknowledging the formidable challenge of reclaiming looted cultural assets, and understanding that the path to restitution requires practical knowledge in conducting rigorous research, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) has again joined forces with the US-based Holocaust Art Restitution Project, [Inc.] (HARP)* to present two immersive summer provenance courses. Scheduled for  June 21 – 28, 2024 and July 08 – 12, 2024 each course has been meticulously crafted to cater to participants at either the more advanced or initial exploratory level.


Course I: “Provenance Progress: Assessing Advances, Accepting Failures, and Developing Solutions in the Field of Provenance Research”
Course and Conference Bundle Dates: June 21 – 28, 2024
Course Location: Amelia, Italy

The Holocaust framed the physical destruction by the Nazis of more than 6 million Jewish men, women and children throughout Axis-occupied Europe. The Nazis also waged a relentless war against culture, resulting in crimes against the cultural rights of millions of people as a preliminary step towards imposing an Aryan white supremacist conception of State-sanctioned creative expression in the New World Order. 

Eighty years later, the international community adopted a series of principles which highlight the use of “fair and just solutions” to resolve ownership disputes involving art objects claimed by descendants of Jewish victims which are located in private and public collections worldwide. Are they really fair? Are they really just?

This 7-day course and conference package begins with admission to ARCA’s annual Amelia Conference held on the weekend of June 21-23, 2024, where, over the course of one weekend course attendees can explore the indispensable role of detection, crime prevention, and scholarly and criminal justice responses, at both the international and domestic level, in combatting all forms of crime related to art and the illicit trafficking of cultural property.

At the conclusion of the conference participants enrolled in this course will begin exploring the skills necessary for navigating the complexities of Holocaust-era provenance research. A portion of the curriculum will be reserved for a thorough examination of the Washington Principles, delving into their impact, and critically assessing their strengths and limitations in guiding restitution efforts.

Participants will have an opportunity to refine their expertise, contributing to the ongoing discourse on ethical and effective restitution practices within the realm of provenance research. They will also explore how scientific and technological advances help or hinder our knowledge of the history of objects and if they bring us closer to a global resolution of Nazi looted art claims. They will examine advances in the growing field of provenance research and the remaining challenges that beset it. Notwithstanding the absence of standardised and universally accepted claims resolution processes, restitution and repatriation mechanisms will be discussed as outcomes of rigorous research, weighing how research can determine or not the fate of an object, and the obstacles that stand in the way of justice to those who claim these objects 80 years after the end of WWII.

Profile of Attendees
With a consistent emphasis on an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, this provenance course is suggested for anyone who wants to also explore and discuss the very praxis of cultural restitution.

Course Fee: €990**
This course fee covers twenty-five hours of interactive course lectures, two catered networking events, a bound and embossed professional development course completion certificate, and free advance registration and admission to ARCA’s annual Amelia Conference (a €160 value). Please note that housing, airfare to/from Italy, daily meals, living expenses, and transportation to/from Amelia are not included in this course package.

Course II: “Uncovering the Past: An Introduction to Nazi-Era Provenance Research”
Course Dates: July 08 – 12, 2024
Course Location: Amelia, Italy

Provenance encapsulates the journey of ownership that an art object undertakes from the time it has been crafted in an artist’s studio to the present. Beyond mere ownership history, a rigorous approach to provenance research highlights evolving artistic bents and collecting preferences, both on an individual and institutional level. It also unravels the legal or illegal use of that object throughout its ownership history.

The course will provide participants with the opportunity to engage in an intensive, guided, dynamic exchange of ideas on research methods while highlighting the multiple diplomatic, political and financial challenges which frame the history of an object. Special emphasis will be placed on the contextual framework of provenance research in an era increasingly reliant on digital tools.

This provenance fundamentals course has several aims:
-to understand the process of displacement of cultural assets during the Nazi era (1933-1945) and other turbulent periods of history (colonial conquests, elimination of indigenous communities by settlers, contemporary conflict zones around the world) and how such displacements shape the history of artistic/cultural/ritual objects;

-to explore the varied ways by which to conduct research into the history of ownership of an artistic/cultural/ritual object, viz., provenance research;

-to analyse and assess the evolving inter-disciplinary methods of research and analysis which clarify the history of displaced artistic and cultural objects.

-to survey the many methods by which to right these historical inequities—past, present and future.

Profile of Attendees
With a consistent emphasis on an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, this provenance course will benefit anyone at the BA level or higher, with an interest in art, art history, art collecting, the global art market, museum and curatorial studies, art and international law, national and international cultural heritage policies.

Course Fee: €890**
This course fee covers twenty-five hours of interactive course lectures, two catered  events, a bound and embossed professional development course completion certificate. Please note that housing, airfare to/from Italy, daily meals, living expenses, and transportation to/from Amelia are not included in this course package.

Instructor Profile:
Both provenance course offerings are taught by Marc Masurovsky, co-founder of HARP, and former director of the Provenance Research Training Program at the Prague-based European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI).

Financial Aid:
ARCA and HARP awards a limited number of partial scholarships, available in the form of course fee reductions, for promising participants with financial need and superior academic credentials who might not otherwise be able to participate. These awards are expected to average between €100-€400 per needs-based applicant and will be awarded mid-March through mid May 2024 as this helps us to understand the total needs distribution and so that we may assist as many individuals as possible, while ensuring the minimum census is achieved.

March 31, 2024 – General Application Deadline (with no application fee)
April 20, 2024 – Late Application Deadline, (subject to €20 late application charge if accepted)
May 1, 2024 – Course Deposit Due

Course Census Size:
Maximum: 25 participants
Minimum: Please note that enrollment minimums have been established for this course. Should enrollment for this course fall short of the prescribed minimum, this provenance course may be subject to cancellation.

**No course fees will be invoiced until the launch threshold has been achieved.

To receive application or to ask general questions about the course please contact us at: education (at)

*The Holocaust Art Restitution Project (“HARP”), a not-for-profit group based in Washington, DC, is dedicated to the identification and restitution of looted artworks requiring detailed research and analysis of public and private archives in North America. HARP has worked for 27 years on the restitution of artworks looted by the Nazi regime.