An important restitution claim filed with Dutch museums

30/10/07— Restitutions — Netherlands —Dutch museums, which recently returned 202 paintings to Jacques Goudstikker’s heirs (see La Tribune de l’Art ; News of February 11, 2006), are now facing the largest claim for restitution of looted art ever.
The four children of Nathan Katz, a former Jewish antique dealer in the Netherlands, have filed a claim with the Dutch government asking for restitution of 225 paintings and two tapestries. These works had been sold during the war to Alois Miedl who was working for Goering. They were recovered in 1945 and deposited in Dutch museums.
The Dutch government has decided to entrust the case to the Restitution Commission created in 2001 to deal with the return of cultural property stolen during the war. According to the New York Times, who finds this affair less clear-cut than the Goudstikker one, the Netherlands had already returned 28 paintings after the war, one of which, a Portrait of a Man by Rembrandt, had been exchanged for the liberation of Nathan Katz’s mother from a concentration camp.
The list of works included in the claim has not been released, but among them there are paintings by Gerrit Dou, Nicolas Maes, Nicolas Berchem, Salomon van Ruysdael and Jacob Ruysdael which today are held in museums such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem and the Stedelijk Museum in Leyden.

Sources : Codart, New York Times

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Didier Rykner, dimanche 30 septembre 2007

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