Dutch to return art collection sold to Goering

7th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 February 2006, THE HAGUE - Dutch museums are to return 202 works of art to the heirs of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, which were sold under duress to Nazi leader Hermann Goering in 1940, Culture Minister Medy van der Laan announced in The Hague Monday.

7 February 2006

THE HAGUE - Dutch museums are to return 202 works of art to the heirs of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, which were sold under duress to Nazi leader Hermann Goering in 1940, Culture Minister Medy van der Laan announced in The Hague Monday.

The announcement, which had been widely anticipated in the Dutch media, came on the recommendation of the Restitution Commission set up in 2002 to look into art looted during World War II.

The cabinet spent more than a month considering the commission's confidential report in an indication of the nervousness with which Dutch museums view the return.

There are fears the successful claim, made by Goudstikker's daughter-in-law Marei von Saher, could open the floodgates to further such claims.

Many of the paintings date back to the Golden 17th Century of Dutch art.

The return of the paintings brings an end to the Dutch part of a long-running legal battle over around 1,300 paintings that Goudstikker left behind when he fled Amsterdam in 1940 as the Germans invaded the Netherlands.

Goering paid 2 million guilders for around 800 paintings, while a further 500 went to German businessman Alois Miedl for 550,000 guilders. Goudstikker's mother is said to have saved her life by selling the paintings.

The family has received back some of the paintings sold to Miedl. Last year a German art gallery in Dusseldorf returned a painting and this weekend a Dresden gallery returned another.

Around 300 of the works were returned to the Netherlands after the war, and 267 of these were listed in the claim by Goudstikker's heirs.

Goudstikker died after falling down a ship's hatchway while escaping the Netherlands. His widow, who remarried and took the name Von Saher, and infant son Edo went on to New York.

Both died in the late 1990s, but Goudstikker's daughter-in-law took up the claim. She has not indicated whether she plans to sell the works, said to be worth millions of dollars at today's prices.

DPA

Subject: German news

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