Provenance Research and Restitution

Exploring the history of a painting

The auction trade is a fast business. It usually only takes a few weeks from consignment to sale. Nevertheless, professionalism and precise research are the top priority. VAN HAM increases the value of your paintings through qualified provenance research. This is carried out by a team of experts under the direction of Dr. Barbara Haubold.

Dr. Barbara Haubold

Dr. Barbara Haubold is the head of the provenance research team of experts. She was the first person to inventory the completely unknown Salzburg collection of Cornelius Gurlitt. With her many years of experience in the art trade and as a member of the Provenance Research Working Group, she focuses primarily on the topics of provenance research and restitution.


Our experts (from left to right: Sophie Ballermann, Dr. Barbara Haubold, Susanne Mehrgardt and Stefan Hörter) work intensively on researching your works and are supported by an international network of specialists. The traces on the backs of the paintings often lead to exhibitions in museums or galleries, to historical inventory lists and to (un)known collections. Exciting, historically verified and documented provenances always ensure an increase in the value of the artwork and are therefore of great interest to consignors and buyers.


Exciting discoveries and new attributions

Successful Restitutions

This thorough provenance research also concerns the cultural assets of Jewish families that were confiscated as a result of Nazi persecution. VAN HAM is in close contact with the Art Loss Register in London, the Lost Art Coordination Office in Magdeburg and the Holocaust Claims Processing Office in New York and has been an internationally recognized and responsible partner for successful restitutions for many years. Although there is no legal restitution obligation for private individuals, VAN HAM has repeatedly succeeded in finding fair and equitable solutions for all parties involved in accordance with the Washington Principles.

"On behalf of the Matheus family, I applaud your careful examination of the provenance of the artworks consigned to your house and your commitment to reaching a fair and equitable resolution with the Waffenschmidt estate."

- Dr. Imke Gielen, Office of Trott zu Solz Lammek, 2018

"I am very pleased that we have achieved this result together and, like the David family, I greatly appreciate your commitment."

- Anne Webber, Commission for Looted Art in Europe, 2018

"It is not the first time that the Cologne auctioneer has shown tact in restitution matters."

- Handelsblatt, 18. Mai 2014

"Sharing with Dignity."

- Spiegel, 2009

"In the negotiations [...] Van Ham took on the central role of mediator. Never before have we received such a firm response from the German art market when it came to looted art."

- Clarence Epstein, Concordia University

"Eisenbeis' impeccable approach [...] is not the only one his house will have to measure itself against in future cases."

- Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14. Februar 2009


We are there for you

Call us at +49 (221) 92 58 62-0or write to us. We will process your request promptly and get back to you as soon as possible. If you would like us to call you back, please specify a time slot within our business hours (Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

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