The Art Restitution Law of 1998 provided the National Fund with a legal mandate to monetize “heirless” art and cultural objects from the museums and collections owned by the Republic of Austria and use the proceeds to benefit the victims of Nazism.
In 2006 an art database was set up to help victims of Nazi art theft and their descendants conduct a targeted search for looted art. The database contains information on 9,400 objects held by twenty cooperating partners, including federal and provincial museums and universities.
The National Fund also provides assistance to provenance researchers from museums and collections and helps them to trace legal successors and establish contacts with Austrian institutions.
Provenance researcher Dr. Michael Wladika (left) and municipal councillor Dr. Andreas Mailath-Pokorny present the restituted painting “The Love Letter” by Johann Nepomuk Schödlberger to Secretary General Hannah Lessing, who returned the picture to the heirs in person in Israel in 2009.
Top: Albin Egger-Lienz, Two Reapers (Three Mowers), Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum, 1921/23
Bottom left: Didi Sattmann. Bottom right: Christa Knott/Vienna Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art, Joseph Krpelan/www.derknopfdrucker.com