Rose Valland Institute
The Rose Valland Institute is an independent interdisciplinary artistic project by Maria Eichhorn. It researches and documents the expropriation of property formerly owned by Europe’s Jewish population and the ongoing impact of those confiscations. The Institute is named after art historian Rose Valland, who secretly recorded details of Nazi looting during the German occupation of Paris. After the war, she worked for the Commission de Récupération Artistique (Commission for the Recovery of Works of Art) and played a decisive role in the restitution of Nazi-looted artworks.
Building on insights gained from Maria Eichhorn’s previous exhibition projects Restitutionspolitik / Politics of Restitution (2003) and In den Zelten … (2015), the Rose Valland Institute is devoted to the issue of unresolved property and ownership relationships from 1933 through to the present. The Institute investigates fundamental questions concerning the ownership of artworks, land, real estate, financial assets, businesses, movable objects and artifacts, libraries, academic work and patents that were stolen from Jewish owners in Germany and occupied territories during the Nazi era and that, to this day, have still not been returned.
The Rose Valland Institute introduced itself publicly in March 2017 with a call for papers focusing on the topic of Orphaned Property in Europe. With the open call on the issue of Unlawful Ownership in Germany, the Institute is continuing its activities. The Rose Valland Institute is appealing to the public to research Nazi loot that may exist in inherited property and to submit the findings to the Institute.
Based in Berlin, the institute was established by Maria Eichhorn on occasion of documenta 14 and presented at Neue Galerie, Kassel, during the exhibition from June 10 until September 17, 2017. From October 2018 until March 2020, the Rose Valland Institute cooperated with the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” at the University of Bonn. Since April 2020, the Rose Valland Institute has been part of the Berlin Artistic Research Grant Programme / gkfd.