Thursday 22 May 2014

Dutch collections include art looted during World War II

It has been reported that the art collections of the Palace Het Loo, the Rijksmuseum and three other museums are thought to include pieces and artifacts that were looted from a Jewish family during World War II.

The NL Times explains that:
In total, 15 pieces of a valuable Meissen porcelain dinnerware ware set may have been stolen from the Gutmann family. The items may have been put up for auction in 1934 under coercion from the Nazis.

Now, 80 years after the fact, Amsterdam investigation bureau Artiaz was able to trace the pieces, to the museums...
Artiaz traced the dinnerware set pieces by looking through old auction documents... 
The items are part of a unique 435-piece Meissen dinnerware set depicting village scenes, which was given to Willem V around 1774 as a gift from the United East-Indian Company. The prince sold the set during exile in England.
Artiaz also said that it was controversial that the Ekkart Committee, which was appointed on 1 April 1999 to supervise the provenance research carried out on works of art confiscated during World War II and repatriated to Holland from Germany after the war (the "NK Collection"), failed to identify that the pieces had been looted. However, with the continual stream of new claims over artworks which were stolen from Jewish families during World War II, perhaps this is the least surprising aspect of the story.

Source: NL Times, 14 May 2014.

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