Dutch royal family returning painting stolen from Jewish collector

Het Haagse Bos met gezicht op Paleis Huis ten Bosch
'Het Haagse bos met gezicht op Paleis Huis ten Bosch' by Joris van der Haagen, purchased in 1960 by Queen Juliana, was to be returned to its rightful heirs, the royal family announced in 2015.'Het Haagse bos met gezicht op Paleis Huis ten Bosch' by Joris van der Haagen, purchased in 1960 by Queen Juliana, was to be returned to its rightful heirs, the royal family announced in 2015.

The Dutch royal family will return a 17th century painting to the heirs of a Jewish art collector who owned the painting before World War II. An inquest led by Queen Máxima into the provenance of the family's own collection of artwork discovered the questionable record of two different paintings, the Dutch Royal House revealed on Tuesday.

A 17th century work titled Het Haagse Bos met gezicht op Paleis Huis ten Bosch, or The Hague Forest with a view to Huis ten Bosch Palace, by Joris van der Haagen, was submitted to the Lippman, Rosenthal & Co. bank. The bank was setup as a way to legally force Jewish people in the Netherlands to deposit their valuables, which was then routinely stolen by Nazis. A branch of the bank was later setup at the Westerbork Camp to strip Jews of all assets before sending them to concentration camps.

Queen Juliana purchased the painting in 1960 from an art dealer "without knowledge of the provenance of the painting," the Royal House stated.

The rightful heirs were contacted and will be given the painting. They wished to remain anonymous.

A second painting in the collection was also under doubt about its origins, the Royal House acknowledged. It is a landscape work from 16th to 17th century artist Paul Bril, purchased in 1948 by Queen Juliana from Nazi Hans Fischbock's collection. Though Fischbock was linked in the past to the plundering of Jewish property, "the archives are inconclusive about who was the owner of the painting around the end of 1939 and beginning of 1940," the report stated. The painting is titled "Landschap met de heilige Hubertus," or Landscape with Saint Hubertus.

The official investigation into the painting suggests it was in the hands of a Dutch art dealer by May 1940, who later said the sale of the painting was completely voluntary.

The investigation into all artworks acquired by the royal family was announced in 2013 by the Historical Collections of the Oranje-Nassau House Foundation board, chaired by Queen Máxima. It was led by Prof.dr. Rudi Ekkart, former head of the Dutch Art History Institute, with assistance from Judith Belinfante, the former chair of the Jewish Historical Museum, and Prof.dr. Peter Sigmond, former director of the Rijksmuseum.

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