The Met Appoints Lucian Simmons Head of Provenance Research

Saturday, March 23, 2024
The Met Appoints Lucian Simmons Head of Provenance Research

Lucian Simmons will take on the role, which was established as part of the Museum’s cultural property initiatives

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the appointment of a Head of Provenance Research, a new position within the Director’s Office created to coordinate such research efforts across the Museum. Lucian Simmons, who most recently served as Vice Chairman and Worldwide Head of the Restitution Department and Senior Specialist for the Impressionist and Modern Art Department at Sotheby’s, will begin in the role in May 2024. Simmons has worked on restitution and provenance matters since 1997, launching Sotheby’s worldwide team dedicated to these topics and creating a market standard for World War II provenance issues. He speaks widely on the art market and particularly the displacement of art during World War II, and gives regular seminars at universities and law schools across North America. At The Met, he will lead coordination of a team of researchers working across many of the Museum’s 19 collecting areas. The establishment of the new leadership role and additional research positions are key components of The Met’s commitment to increasing its dedication of resources to long-term work related to cultural property.

“As The Met engages more intensively and proactively in examining our collection, we are delighted to welcome Lucian Simmons to help lead this crucial and ongoing work,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and Chief Executive Officer. “His vast experience with cultural property and restitution over the past several decades will be invaluable to the Museum. We are grateful to the curators, conservators, and existing provenance researchers who have been deeply engaged in studying the collection for many decades. Our hiring of additional experts will help further these efforts and play a vital role in coordinating the work amongst departments.”

As Head of Provenance Research, Simmons will be responsible for coordinating provenance research efforts throughout the Museum’s curatorial departments in close collaboration with the Deputy Director for Collections and Administration and in consultation with the Counsel’s Office. He will work with the curators within the appropriate departments to confirm that proper research is undertaken on all objects currently in the collection or entering through acquisition that can be considered cultural property or should be examined for their Nazi-era provenance.

Simmons said, “I am thrilled at this opportunity to bring my experience working on provenance and cultural property issues to The Met, which has been a leading voice on these topics in the global art community. I look forward to collaborating with the exceptional staff already focused on this important work and to furthering the Museum’s mission.”

Main Image :Lucian Simmons previously served as Sotheby's vice chairman and worldwide head of its Restitution Department. (photo by Wilson Santiago, courtesy The Met)


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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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