New Deal Artwork: Ownership and Responsibility

GSA’s Fine Arts Program Office and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) work together to locate, identify and recover lost portable works of art produced by artists through the New Deal era federal art programs of the 1930s through the mid 1940s.

When a New Deal artwork is offered for sale and/or is suspected to be federal property, the OIG is notified. The notification can be made by anyone, including, but not limited to, the Fine Arts Program, a private individual, a museum staff member, art dealer, appraiser or lawyer. The possessor is requested to maintain care and possession of the artwork until research about title is complete.

If the artwork is determined to be federal property, the GSA works with the possessor to return the work of art to federal custody, with the ultimate goal of having the artwork loaned to a qualifying institution.

If you are aware of a New Deal work of art that may be federal property, please contact the GSA’s Fine Arts Program or GSA’s Office of the Inspector General. The OIG can make every effort to maintain the anonymity of those persons who provide them information.

Office of Investigations

Last Reviewed: 2022-11-11