The Museum Wiesbaden is one of just a few museums in the world that subjects its holdings to intense provenance research. Inspired by the Washington Declaration, the Museum examines its collection under an art-history microscope and traces the confiscation of artworks from their Jewish owners during the period of National Socialism. One major challenge in this research is determining the rightful owners of the art and agreeing to fair, equitable solutions – ideally by immediate return to the descendants of the owners or purchase for a reasonable price.
Turning “Die Labung” to display only the back of the painting until Wiesbaden's citizens contribute one-third of the purchase price, so “Die Labung” can become a legitimate possession of the museum. When the campaign is successful, the historically valuable work will be turned again, so that it can be seen by museum visitors.
The campaign “Wiesbaden schafft die Wende!” (Wiesbaden creates the turn) is not just a matter of turning a painting, but also about overcoming Nazi injustice after more than 70 years. The handwritten notes and stickers on the back of the painting provided important clues in the provenance research, so our campaign also emphasizes Museum Wiesbaden’s careful and thorough attention to a disturbing chapter in the history of art.
The seven-week campaign, visible throughout the city in printed and digital media, was generating enthusiastic support.