About Us

The international Arbeitskreis for Provenienzforschung e.V. (Research Association for Provenance Research) is a nonprofit membership organization for the promotion of provenance research in all its interdisciplinary variety. As the largest organization of professional provenance researchers in the world, the Arbeitskreis advocates the enhancement and sustainability of its discipline.

The Arbeitskreis now has close to 300 members from the fields of art history, history and contemporary history, linguistics and literature, archaeology, ethnology, and law. They work in museums, in the public sector, in the art market, at universities, or as independent researchers in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Switzerland, or the USA. In order to foster direct personal and professional exchange, the Arbeitskreis holds one general assembly per year, usually in November, and participates in various other events. Several working groups facilitate accessability of archival sources or develop professional standards, and aid in the pursuit of scholarship.

The Arbeitskreis maintains a lively exchange with relevant political and cultural institutions such as the German Lost Art Foundation (DZK), the Deutscher Museumsbund, ICOM Germany, the Kulturstiftung der Länder, or the Österreichische Kommission für Provenienzforschung. It considers provenance research an integral part of the four basic tasks of museums: to collect, to research, to preserve, and to share knowledge. The association promotes the systematic research of museal collections by strengthening the professional position of its members within their institutions. It specifically focuses on the establishment of permanent positions.

Therefore, the Arbeitskreis advocates a systematic and permanent integration of provenance research into museums, libraries, archives, the art market, and academic research.