Looting, Loss, and Recovery

A Virtual Symposium


Thursday, December 9, 2021
6:30 – 8 pm
Zoom, Virtual Program

Participate in a two-part virtual symposium exploring a range of topics related to the exhibition Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art. Part one will premiere on the Jewish Museum's YouTube channel on December 6 from 5 - 7:30 pm EST and will feature historians Rafael Cardoso, Lisa Moses Leff, Timothy Snyder, and Sarah Abrevaya Stein as well as co-curators Darsie Alexander, Susan and Elihu Rose Chief Curator, and Sam Sackeroff, Lerman-Neubauer Assistant Curator. Experts in their respective fields of study, the speakers will address a range of topics including the specific restitution story of a single painting, Max Pechstein's Paysage (1912), the destruction of the Jewish community of Salonica [Thessaloniki, Greece], and the efforts of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Inc. The exhibition curators will also provide a video overview of the exhibition. Viewers are encouraged to pose questions for the speakers in the chat during the video premieres. Videos will continue to be available for future viewing. 

Then on December 9 at 6:30 pm EST join us on Zoom for part two of the symposium, a live virtual conversation moderated by the exhibition curators. Speakers will have the opportunity to respond to one another's presentations and engage in a discussion considering several broader themes including the role that cultural restitution and related issues should play in scholarship and museum practice in the future. Audience questions will be addressed.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Lisa Moses Leff is Director of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Professor of History at American University. Her research focuses on the Jews of modern France, and her books include Colonialism and the Jews (co-edited with Ethan Katz and Maud Mandel, 2017) and The Archive Thief: the Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust (2015), which received the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature.

Timothy Snyder is the Levin Professor of History and Public Affairs at Yale University. His historical work concerns central and eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and the Holocaust. He has also written on U.S. History, international relations, health care, digital politics, and political thought. His fifteen books, which include Bloodlands and Black Earth, have been translated into more than forty languages and have received a similar number of awards. He holds state orders and honorary doctorates, and has appeared in documentaries, on television, and in films. His writing has inspired poster exhibitions, sculpture, a punk rock song, a rap song, films, a play, and an opera. His pamphlet On Tyranny is quoted in demonstrations around the world. In 2021, he introduced the terms "big lie" and "memory laws" into the American political and legal discussion. He is finishing a philosophical book about freedom.

Rafael Cardoso is an art historian, writer, and is also active as an independent curator. He is a member of the Postgraduate Faculty in Art History at Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and a research associate at the Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). He has authored many books and essays on the history of art and design in Brazil, the most recent of which is Modernity in Black and White: Art and Image, Race and Identity in Brazil, 1890-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He is chair of the newly founded Hugo Simon Foundation.

Sarah Abrevaya Stein is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, as well as Professor of History and the Viterbi Family Chair in Mediterranean Jewish Studies at UCLA. She is the author or editor of nine books, including, most recently, Family Papers, a Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux 2019) which was named a Best Book of 2019 by The Economist and an Editor's Choice Book by The New York Times Book Review. Dr. Stein is the recipient of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two National Jewish Book Awards.

Lead benefactor support for Looting, Loss, and Recovery: A Virtual Symposium is made possible by The David Berg Foundation. Additional support is provided by other generous donors.

This program is organized by Darsie Alexander, Susan and Elihu Rose Chief Curator, Sam Sackeroff, Lerman-Neubauer Assistant Curator, Nelly Silagy Benedek, Deputy Director, Education & Programs, and Jenna Weiss, Assistant Director of Public Programs. Video Production by SandenWolff.

Installation view of the exhibition Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo: Steven Paneccasio.