JP Morgan gives up claim to Rijksmuseum masterpiece

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The US bank has renounced its claim to the famous painting, The bend in the Herengracht, by Dutch painter Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde.

The Hague – US bank JP Morgan Chase has renounced a claim to an artwork that Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum bought from a Dutch multimillionaire who had used it as loan collateral, the two parties said Monday.

The Dutch state, which owns the museum's collection, "concluded an accord with JP Morgan a few weeks ago," Taco Dibbits, the museum's head of collections, told AFP.

JP Morgan Chase "renounced its claim to the piece", he added. "There is now nobody who claims the rights" to the work.

The bend in the Herengracht (after a famous canal in Amsterdam), a 17th century work by Dutch painter Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde, was acquired by the Rijksmuseum from Louis Reijtenbagh, a wealthy art collector, in September 2008.

After JP Morgan went to court to lay claim to the painting in April, the Rijksmuseum insisted it was the rightful owner of what it described as a "masterpiece of national importance".

The bank confirmed in a statement on Monday that "the legal dispute ... has been resolved and that all claims raised in the lawsuit have been dismissed with prejudice".

Reijtenbagh is reported in the local media to have used the painting with other works of art as collateral for a USD-50-million-dollar (EUR 38 million) loan from JP Morgan in 2006 before selling it to the museum for several million dollars in 2008.

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

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

Dutch bank ABN Amro, with whom Reijtenbagh also had a loan, also laid claim to the painting in April, but later abandoned its legal action.

AFP / Expatica

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