Stolen Culture:
Provenance and the Context of Collections

Conversations on looted artworks and questions of provenance

Increasingly recognized as central to the fields of art history and museum studies, questions of provenance and the illicit acquisition of objects in museum collections have renewed urgency due to recent high-profile examples of repatriation. The return of the Euphronios Krater, the ongoing controversy of the Elgin Marbles, and Benin Bronzes, combined with the work of the Monuments Men and Women to redress Nazi-era stolen art has shed light on provenance issues across cultures. Whether from looting, casualties of war, or the legacy of imperialism, countless pieces of stolen art still populate major museums globally.

This series explores issues facing the developing interdisciplinary field of provenance research, addressing both theory and method, both practical and ethical questions. Speakers from a range of specializations contribute to defining the agenda for future work in provenance research.

Stolen Culture is organized by the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, the School of Arts and Humanities, and The Athenaeum Review at The University of Texas at Dallas.

These interviews were recorded in summer 2022.

Episode 1
The Monuments Men Foundation

Robert M. Edsel, founder and chairman, and Anna Bottinelli, president, of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, discuss the current state of provenance research in museums and other collecting institutions.

Filmed Summer 2022

Episode 2

The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution

Dan Hicks, professor of contemporary archaeology at the University of Oxford and curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum, speaks about issues of looted African art in British museums, and current efforts toward restitution.

Filmed Summer 2022

Episode 3
Africa's Struggle for Its Art: History of a Postcolonial Defeat

Bénédicte Savoy, professor of modern art history at the Technische Universität Berlin, talks about the history of attempts by independent African countries to recover art that had been looted by former colonial powers.

Filmed Summer 2022

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at the University of Texas at Dallas is a center for innovative research and education in art history, and a community of scholars dedicated to collaboration and exchange.

The School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas shapes global citizens who are critical thinkers, imaginative creators and innovative problem solvers.

Athenaeum Review is a publication of the School of Arts and Humanities and the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at the University of Texas at Dallas of essays, reviews, and podcasts by leading scholars in the arts and humanities.