Eindhoven museum to return Nazi-looted Kandinsky painting to Jewish family
The painting Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche by Wassily Kandinsky, which has been in the collection of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven for over 70 years, belongs to the heirs of the Jewish Johanna Margarethe Stern-Lippmann (1874-1944). The Restitutions Committee, which deals with the restitution of art that changed hands due to World War II, said this in advice to the municipality of Eindhoven. The city promised the committee that it would implement the advice.
Early in 2018, the committee rejected a request for restitution because it could not establish how Stern-Lippmann, the applicants' grandmother and great-grandmother, lost possession of the painting during the Nazi regime. But new documents have surfaced with information that changed the committee’s mind. According to the committee, it is “sufficiently plausible that Margarethe Stern-Lippmann lost the painting involuntarily during the Nazi regime.” There are several indications of that.
The Committee assumes that the work did not fall out of Stern-Lippmann’s possession before the occupation and does not believe that the family sold it after the war. The owner must have lost possession of it during the occupation. Therefore, and because she was a private individual who belonged to a persecuted group due to her Jewish descent, the Committee concluded that the painting was taken from her involuntarily.
Her family in Belgium, the United States, and the Netherlands says they are delighted. “It’s a painting that hung in a prominent place with our grandparents and great-grandparents and a painting that represents much of our family’s past. The return to us marks an important moment - we won’t get back the nine family members who were murdered - but it’s an acknowledgment of the injustice that our family and so many like us have experienced.”
Reporting by ANP