- The Legislative Initiative advocates for a policy environment that supports claims and removes impediments to the restitution of looted art.
The Commission for Art Recovery contributes significantly to further art restitution by maintaining positive momentum and awareness, as well as engaging into a solution oriented dialogue process with respective governments and museums. CAR works closely with lawyers, scholars, art experts and other appropriate organizations safeguarding the legal rights of Holocaust survivors and their heirs. Our most recent efforts included supporting the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act enacted in December 2016, which enables Holocaust survivors and their families to fully-and fairly-seek claims through the courts for property stolen from them during the Holocaust. In addition, CAR successfully advocated in favour of an export exception for art identified as being Nazi-looted in the context of the recently passed "Act on the Protection of Cultural Property" (Gesetz zur Neuregelung des Kulturgutschutzrechts) in Germany.
- The Judicial Initiative leverages litigation to encourage the adoption of international practices and principles that redress the injustice of looted art through restitution.
CAR is not a claims organization, but we support judicial initiatives brought forward by claimants when such litigation furthers the establishment and implementation of policies promoting art restitution. In this capacity, CAR supported the return of Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", a landmark case which opened U.S. courts to claims by Holocaust victims and their heirs; CAR has written amicus briefs in other U.S. cases as well; and recently mediated a U.S. claim resulting in a settlement. CAR is also supporting litigation brought by the heirs of the Herzog family against the Hungarian government with the aim of securing the return of over 40 pieces currently held by museums in Hungary.
- The Historical Research Initiative locates missing art on behalf of Holocaust victims and attempts to motivate governments and museums to research, identify and publicize works in their possession that were stolen during the Nazi era (1933-1945) in order to increase transparency.
"Heritage Revealed" was a joint project undertaken by the U.S. and Russian governments with the assistance of CAR and the World Jewish Congress. Its aim was to fund and direct efforts to research and uncover cultural assets brought to the former Soviet Union as trophy art in the aftermath of World War II. The project explored research materials available in Russia relating to trophy art, and published three catalogues documenting cultural valuables whose location had been kept secret for decades. More recently, CAR is cooperating with the Claims Conference and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to enlarge the ERR-Jeu de Paume database, which for the first time brings together searchable digitised copies of the remaining registration cards and photographs of more than 20,000 art objects taken from Jews in German-occupied France, to include further information from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
- The Educational Initiative assists professionals with provenance research and offers accessible programs that raise public awareness about looted art and restitution.
CAR organizes workshops and participates in conferences and seminars that provide professional development for lawyers, art historians, curators and law enforcement officers, including the Provenance Research Training Program, a project of the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI). An event held at the Harvard Law School in 2008 focused on looted art that was transported to the Soviet Union by the Red Army. Another event, organized in 2011 together with Christie's Auction House in Milan, examined issues of fascist and Nazi art looting in Italy. CAR also supports the creation and dissemination of educational materials relevant to the identification of artworks looted during World War II and has supported the publication of scholarly articles and books.
- The Knowledge Exchange Initiative is a professional training and knowledge exchange program focusing on documentary materials held by various European archival and governmental institutions. To date, no comprehensive research has been conducted regarding this topic and its cultural, historical and sociological context. There are many European heritage and government institutions holding records with relevance to Jewish collectors, collections and Jewish artists, but the flow of information between them has been fragmented and unsatisfactory. Significant amount of expertise has been accumulated in isolated scholarly communities. The project aims to address this problem and to bring together archive professionals from European institutions holding significant stocks.