Thursday, March 31, 2022

9:30–11:30 a.m. (Washington, DC)
3:30–5:30 p.m. (Berlin)
9:30–11:30 p.m. (Beijing)

Program | Agenda | Speaker Bios



During World War II, the Nazi regime and its collaborators orchestrated on an unprecedented scale a system of confiscation, coercive transfer, looting, and destruction of cultural objects in Europe. This webinar explores World War II history and the market for Asian art, a little studied subject in the field of art history, and asks how the Nazi occupation impacted the circulation of Asian art. In so doing, it also considers the unique complexities of researching and documenting Asian objects that circulated during the period.

Bringing together a panel of provenance experts for a moderated conversation, this webinar highlights the experiences of dealers and collectors of Asian art who lived through or fled the Nazi regime. The conversation will also consider how the atrocities committed by the Nazi party influenced the formation of postwar museum collections and the academic study of Asian art in the West.

Organized by:

Joanna M. Gohmann, National Museum of Asian Art, Washington, DC
Christine Howald, Zentralarchiv/Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin



Thursday, March 31, 2022

9:30–11:30 a.m. (Washington, DC, EDT)
3:30–5:30 p.m. (Berlin)
9:30–11:30 p.m. (Beijing)

9:30–9:45 a.m. (EDT)

  • Welcome & Opening Remarks
    Joanna M. Gohmann, National Museum of Asian Art
    Christine Howald, Zentralarchiv/Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

9:45–10:25 a.m. (EDT)

  • Experiential Spotlights

    Nathalie Neumann, Senior Provenance Researcher, IKM University of Mainz

    Leonhard Weidinger, Commission for Provenance Research, Vienna, AustriaUNITED STATES
    Laurie A. Stein, L. Stein Art Research LLC

    Dodi Reifenberg, Artist and Researcher, Ginsberg Family Art Research Project

10:25–11:10 a.m. (EDT)

  • Moderated Discussion

11:10–11:25 a.m. (EDT)

  • Questions and Answers

11:25–11:30 a.m. (EDT)

  • Closing Remarks
    Joanna M. Gohmann, National Museum of Asian Art
    Christine Howald, Zentralarchiv/Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin


Speaker Bios

Joanna M. Gohmann received her PhD in the history of art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a provenance researcher and object historian at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. Before coming to NMAA, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art at The Walters Art Museum. Gohmann is particularly interested in the history of collecting and artistic exchanges between China and the eighteenth-century French court.

Christine Howald, PhD in history, is deputy director of the Zentralarchiv (Central Archive) and provenance researcher for the Asia collections at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin), and she also heads the research focus Tracing East Asian Art (TEAA) at Technische Universität Berlin. Her projects focus on the European market for East Asian art and colonial withdrawal contexts in Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Howald is the cofounder of the international network and workshop series “Provenance Research on East Asian Art.” She has published on the marketing of the Yuanmingyuan loot in Paris and London in the 1860s and is coeditor of the volume Acquiring Cultures: Histories of World Art on Western Markets (de Gruyter, 2018) and of two issues of the Journal for Art Market Studies: “Asian Art: Markets, Provenance, History” (Vol. 2, no. 3, 2018) and “Asian Art: The Formation of Collections” (Vol. 4, no. 2, 2020).

Nathalie Neumann is an art historian focusing on French and German subjects. She has studied and worked in Friburg/Breisgau, Tokyo, Berlin, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris. Her master’s thesis explored the representation of clouds in painting and photography and was published as a CD-ROM (1996). Neumann has participated in numerous exhibitions and conferences focused on documentary photography and cultural exchanges between Germany and France, including the exhibition Willy Ronis (Paris, 2010; Versailles, 2021), the exhibition Izis, Gisèle Freund (Berlin, 2008) and the exhibition Lore Krüger (Paris, 2016). She has also worked for both the Canadian and French embassies in Berlin. For the last fifteen years, Neumann’s research and publications have focused on Julius Freund’s art collection and the restitution of looted art. From 2016 to 2017, she was a member of the Gurlitt Research Team, which focused on French and East Asian art objects. From 2017 to 2019, Neumann was a provenance researcher with the art collection of the German government, focusing on artworks connected to the CCP and their remaining administrative archives. Since April 2020, she has worked at the University of Mainz as a researcher, focusing on the reconstruction of the art collection of Felix Ganz (1869–1944), which is composed of art objects from the Near East and East Asia.

Dodi Reifenberg is an Israeli/German artist based in Berlin who works with recycled, single-use plastic bags. His color and tone emerge from parallel processes of collecting, recycling, and creating images with “mosaic” and sculptural techniques. Through his work with portraiture, Dodi stumbled upon traces of his family in Berlin before the war and initiated the Ginsberg Family Art Research Project, which comprises a group of provenance researchers and is supported by Deutsche Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (DZK). An exhibition with the results of the research and his lost family portraits is planned for 2024–5 in the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Laurie A. Stein is a specialist in issues of World War II–era provenance research and twentieth-century German art, design, and architecture. With many years of professional experience and scholarly publications in the United States and Germany, she has been a museum curator, a foundation director, and a provenance consultant for numerous American, German, and Swiss institutions and individuals, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University Art Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Bavarian State Paintings Collection, and the Foundation E.G. Büehrle Collection. She was curator at the Werkbundarchiv/Museum der Dinge in Berlin for ten years and a founding member of German Working Group for Provenance Research (Arbeitskreis fuer Provenienzforschung) in 2000. Stein was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande in 2020 for her contributions to provenance research, for her leadership as a woman in the cultural community, and for international exchange.

Leonhard Weidinger is a historian who has been a provenance researcher at the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, since 2005. On behalf of the Austrian Commission for Provenance Research, he has collaborated on several online projects, including the “German Sales” project that is part of the Getty Research Institute’s Getty Provenance Index and the Lexicon of Austrian Provenance Research, for which he also served as an editor. From 2017 to 2019, Weidinger worked with the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, and contributed to the “Führerbau” theft and documentation project, and he also evaluated the Munich CCP sources. He has been on the board of Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung, serving as its chairman from 2017 to 2018. He has taught at the University of Vienna and published widely. His primary research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century Austrian cultural history and digital humanities.