ABN Amro claims Rijksmuseum’s masterpiece too

23rd April 2009, Comments 0 comments

A week after JP Morgan Chase claims The bend in the Herengracht belongs to them, ABN Amro is saying it has the rights to the artwork too.

THE HAGUE – Dutch bank ABN Amro squared up to US rival JP Morgan Chase and Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum Wednesday over the rights to an artwork the museum bought from a man who used it as loan collateral, twice.

Dutch millionaire and art collector Louis Reijtenbagh borrowed money from both financial institutions using his art collection as collateral and later sold one of the paintings to Rijksmuseum, the national museum of art in Amsterdam.

"We have instituted legal action against Mr (Louis) Reijtenbagh, who used the painting as collateral for a loan with us, but as we learnt through the media, also with JP Morgan," ABN Amro spokesman Jeroen van Maarschalkerweerd told AFP.

"We are asking the court to determine who has the first claim on the painting."

The district court in Amsterdam said the demand would be heard on Friday.

The painting in question is The bend in the Herengracht, a famous canal in Amsterdam, the 17th century work by Dutch painter Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde. It was acquired by the Rijksmuseum from Reijtenbagh on September 2008.

The Rijksmuseum said last week it had received notice of a claim by JP Morgan, filed with a US federal court on 1 April.

"Our (the museum's) position is that we are the rightful owners," the museum's director of collections, Taco Dibbits, told AFP at the time, describing the painting as a "masterpiece of national importance".

Reijtenbagh is reported to have used the painting with other works of art as collateral for a USD-50-million (EUR-38-million) loan from JP Morgan in 2006 before selling it to the museum for several million dollars last year.

Some USD 27 million is said to be outstanding on that loan, which has run full term.

Dibbits said the seller signed a sales contract that indemnified the museum against any third party claims.

Van Maarschalkerweerd would not provide any details about Reijtenbagh's ANB Amro loan.

The painting is currently on loan to the National Gallery of Art in Washington for an exhibition ending on 3 May.

AFP / Expatica

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