Artwork in Missing Works Project Returned to Heirs

THE HAGUE, 4 January 2018 - The Restitutions Committee has advised Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven to restitute a pastel drawing from the Dutch National Art Collection to the heirs of the original owners. The Minister has accepted this recommendation.

The drawing in pastels by Philippus Endlich is of a gentleman with a violin in a library. The artwork was the shared property of the applicants’ grandfathers and was originally part of a collection that consisted primarily of family portraits. As a precaution, after the German invasion of the Netherlands the drawing was put in a safe at the Amsterdamsche Bank, together with other works of art. There the collection was seized by the Germans. The drawing ended up at the looting organization Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co, Sarphatistraat (Liro), which sold the work in 1943 to the Mak van Waay auction house in Amsterdam. On 24 May 1944 the drawing was purchased by the Rijksmuseum Print Room. The drawing has been in the Rijksmuseum’s possession since then.

After the war the family tried to get the seized artworks back. The pastel drawing by Endlich was also reported as missing. At the time, however, no link was made to the work bought by the Rijksmuseum Print Room.

In December 2016 the Origins Unknown Agency (Bureau Herkomst Gezocht) published information from the ‘Vermiste Werken’ [‘Missing Works’] project on its website. This project’s objective is to digitize and give access to information about missing works of art and, where possible, to identify them. Some 15,000 declaration forms and the associated image material from the files of the SNK - Netherlands Art Property Foundation and the RKD - Netherlands Institute for Art History form the basis for this project. The declaration concerning the pastel was also published. The applicants identified the drawing reported in the declaration as the work in the Rijksmuseum and requested the Minister to restitute it. The Committee advised the Minister to return the drawing to the heirs of the original owners.

About the Restitutions Committee

The Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War advises about claims to items of cultural value lost during the Nazi period, also referred to as looted art. Since the Restitutions Committee was established in 2002 it has issued 153 recommendations and opinions and has had 173 claims submitted to it. The Committee is chaired by Fred Hammerstein.

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