Application for restitution of 188 paintings from Katz claim rejected

The Hague, 24 January 2013 - The Dutch Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War has advised Minister Jet Bussemaker of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to almost entirely reject a claim for restitution of 189 works of art from the Dutch National Art Collection. After conducting an investigation, the Restitutions Committee concludes that the conditions for restitution have not been met. One exception is the painting Man with a high cap by Ferdinand Bol, regarding which the Committee recommends restitution.

The claim was submitted by 21 descendants of the Jewish brothers Benjamin and Nathan Katz, who owned Kunsthandel Firma D. Katz of Dieren from 1930 onwards. The applicants contend that Kunsthandel Katz involuntarily lost possession of these 189 claimed objects, most of which were paintings, during the Nazi regime. This was why they claimed the objects in 2007.
The Restitutions Committee investigated the claim and concludes that virtually none of the works of art meet the conditions for restitution. The two key requirements under applicable policy are that it must be proved with a high degree of probability that Kunsthandel Katz was the owner of the works of art and that the sale of the objects took place under duress.

None of the rejected 188 works meet one or both of these requirements. The only exception is the painting Man with high cap by Ferdinand Bol, regarding which the Restitutions Committee believes that both ownership and the coerced nature of loss of possession have been sufficiently proved. For that reason, the Committee advised Minister Bussemaker to return this painting to the descendants of the Katz brothers. The Minister has adopted this recommendation.

More information:
A brief summary of the recommendation can be found here.
The full text of the translated recommendation can be downloaded here.
For images of artworks related to the claim, click here.

About the Restitutions Committee
The Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War advises on claims to items of cultural value lost during the Nazi period, so-called looted art. Today, these items of cultural value may be part of a museum collection and in the possession of the Dutch State (National Art Collection), a provincial or municipal government institute, a foundation or a private party. Since its establishment in 2002, The Restitutions Committee has issued 117 recommendations and 137 claims have been presented to it. The Restitutions Committee has been chaired by Willibrord Davids since 1 January 2009.

Relevant recommendations: 
Image: