Symposium 2023

International Symposium 2023

Art Transportation in Times of War and Peace
November 9-10, 2023

International Symposium of the Centre for Art Market Studies in cooperation with the Department of Digital Provenance at Technische Universität Berlin and the Berlinische Galerie – Museum für Moderne Kunst


In the 1950s, the planned construction of the Aswan High Dam threatened the accessibility and architectural integrity of Ramses II’s two temples at Abu Simbel. As a world wide joint project, the temples were dismantled and rebuilt on a higher plateau between 1963 and 1968. Source: Forskning & Framsteg 3, 1967, p. 161 / Wikimedia Commons.

Transporting art and cultural heritage in times of war and peace may have in all its contexts its unique motivations. Reasons for doing so include art protection, exhibitions, art trade and sales, (inter-)cultural exchange, preservation and conservation, repatriation, art theft and plundering as well as research and study.

The transportation of art, artifacts, and cultural heritage should always involve careful planning, support, and execution to safeguard these valuable and often irreplaceable items, may it be in times of war or peace. Transportation processes should adhere to strict conservation standards to minimize the risk of damage or loss during transit. But have those standards always existed? And do those processes significantly differ between times of peace and times of war due to the varying risks, challenges and motivations posed by conflict and violence?

The conference aims to bring together scholars, researchers, curators, restorers, (museum) experts and practitioners to explore on a global scale issues surrounding “how” transportation of art, artifacts, and cultural heritage is planned, supported and finally carried out, as well as all specific aspects around moving art during situations of war and peace.


Berlinische Galerie (with registration by 7 November 2023)

Panel Discussion (in German): Krieg in Europa – Art Handling

Arrival of relief goods at the Khanenko Museum, Kyiv, March 2022; Image: Ukraine Art Aid Center.

17:30 Registration / Admission

Welcome: Birgitta Müller-Brandeck (Berlinische Galerie)
Introduction: Dorothee Wimmer (Centre for Art Market Studies, TU Berlin)

On the podium:

  • Khrystyna Ahner (Ukraine Art Aid Center/BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg)
  • Klaus Hillmann (Tandem Kunsttransporte/Ukraine Art Aid Center)
  • Meike Hopp (Digital Provenance, TU Berlin/Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e.V.)


  • Julia Voss (DHM/Leuphana Universität Lüneburg)

Due to limited space, registration is required by 7 November 2023.

The panel discussion will be audio recorded.

Technische Universität Berlin (online, TUB-Zoom)

International Symposium (in English): Art Transportation in Times of War and Peace

10:00 Welcome: Meike Hopp, Berlin
Introduction: Thomas Steinruck, Zurich | Dorothee Wimmer, Berlin

Session 1 – Customs Regulations, Challenges and Techniques
Chair: Dorothee Wimmer, Berlin

10:30 Alice Martignon, Venice
The Transportation of Cultural and Archaeological Heritage from Venice to Foreign Countries (1866-1907)
11:00 Mathilde Sigalas, Geneva
From Local Transportation to International Shipping: the Trajectories of the Ur Antiquities during the British Mandate over Iraq (1922-1932)
11:30 Tereza Johanidesová, Prague
“How to Move an Immovable Monument?” Cooperation with UNESCO for the Transfer of a Church in the North Bohemian Town of Most
12:00 Lunch Break

Session 2 – Insurance, Law and Economics
Chair: Thomas Steinruck, Zurich

13:30 Paul Franke, Marburg/Berlin
„Put the Giorgione in a Trunk and Presto!“ Clandestine Art Transportation in the 19th and 20th Century
14:00 Avigail Moss, London
“Excluding War Risks”: Insuring Art in and out of Conflict in the early 20th Century
14:30 Romane Spirin, Paris
The Refuge System for Museum Collections in the Event of Armed Conflict
15:00 Coffee Break

Session 3 – Art Protection in World War II
Chair: Meike Hopp, Berlin

15:30 Mattia Biffis, Messina/Rome
“Arduous Operations”: the Transportation of Titian’s Assunta in 1941
16:00 Victoria Marquez-Feldman, Paris/Buenos Aires
The “Custodianship” of French Artwork in the United States, 1939-1945: a Unique Heritage Protection System
16:30 Ulrike Schmiegelt-Rietig, Potsdam
The Collections of the State Palaces and Gardens (Berlin) 1936-1945: Semblance of Normality and Protective Measures
17:00 Final Remarks


Meike Hopp, Thomas Steinruck, Dorothee Wimmer and Gabriele Zöllner


Centre for Art Market Studies in cooperation with the Department of Digital Provenance at Technische Universität Berlin and the Berlinische Galerie – Museum für Moderne Kunst