Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access to and ownership of exceptional art and luxury objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail. Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 70 categories which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Design, as well as collectible cars and real estate. Sotheby’s believes in the transformative power of art and culture and is committed to making our industries more inclusive, sustainable and collaborative.


  • The principal function is to work within the international restitution team to review every unique artwork offered for sale at Sotheby’s worldwide that was created prior to 1945 to minimize the risk that it may have been displaced due to persecution in WWII. 
  • To lead Restitution research globally.
  • To represent Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s Restitution research as an ambassador and presenter at events including conferences and lectures globally.
  • Organize Sotheby’s hosted Restitution events and educational seminars. 
  • Develop and maintain relationships with relevant lawyers, researchers and government bodies in the restitution field.
  • Generate incremental business through restitution research and contacts, specifically lawyers, heirs, museums and researchers in the restitution field.
  • Minimize the risk that Sotheby’s will inadvertently offer for sale an artwork that was looted or displaced between 1933 and 1948 and never later restituted.
  • Proactively source business opportunities. 
  • Work closely with the Global Head of Restitution on priority business.
  • Prepare client materials, and work closely with the expert departments.
  • Lead negotiations and mediation with governmental bodies.

Specific job elements:

  • To lead the research function of the Restitution department, driving best practice.
  • Provide diligent research and support for Sotheby’s worldwide on WWII era provenance issues.
  • Facilitate a global training program for all expert employees on company policies with regard to WWII era provenance research. 
  • Collaborate with business getters and cataloguers in each affected expert department to vet and research artworks that are sought for sale at every touch point including appraisal, pitch, cataloging and sale.
  • Work directly with clients and their advisors in the context of prospective sales, appraisals and gifts.     
  • Support clients in clearing the provenance of artworks for sale or appraisal.      


  • 8+ years of relevant experience in restitution and provenance research and business development
  • This is a senior, ambassadorial role, requiring a Restitution and legal background with connections in the Restitution field and client management skills.
  • Language skills (fluency in German and/or French).
  • The role requires proven research, presentation and communication skills.
  • The successful candidate must be a team player and be able to work in a collaborative environment.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Legal and/or Art History qualification required.
  • Ability to travel internationally frequently.
  • Please note that we are also willing to hire in Germany or Paris.

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The Company is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applicants for employment without regard to race (including, without limitation, traits historically associated with race, such as natural hair, hair texture, and protective and treated or untreated hairstyles), color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership/union status, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic predisposition, genetic information, reproductive health decision, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, alienage or citizenship status, domestic violence victim status, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state/province or local law. The Company complies with applicable state and local laws prohibiting discrimination in employment in every jurisdiction in which it operates.

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