Paintings returned to Jewish art lover's heir

THE HAGUE - The Restitutions Committee has advised Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker to restitute to the Jewish owner's heir two paintings that were sold involuntarily during the Second World War. The Minister has accepted the advice.

The advice concerns the paintings Amsterdam Town Hall by Gerrit Berckheyde (NK 1978), on loan to the Amsterdam Museum, and View of a Dutch Harbour with Figures by Adam Willaerts (NK 2729), on loan to Centraal Museum in Utrecht. Both works belong to the Dutch National Art Collection. These pictures are now in the Netherlands Art Property Collection (NK collection), which consists of artworks returned from Germany after the Second World War.

Until the Second World War they were part of the collection of Jewish art lover Sam Bernhard Levie. He sold the Willaerts painting around 12 September 1940 through a Dutch art dealer to W.A. Hofer, who purchased art on behalf of Hermann Göring. On 15 September 1940 Levie sold the Berckheyde painting to a Dutch art dealer, who in turn sold it to a German museum. During the occupation of the Netherlands Levie and his wife were deported by the Nazis and were killed in Sobibor in May 1943.

In accordance with the policy rules that apply to the NK collection, the Restitutions Committee concludes that there was involuntary loss of possession as a result of the Nazi regime. It therefore advises Minister Bussemaker to return the paintings to the original owner's heir. The Minister has accepted the advice.

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 advice on 129 cases and has had 142 claims submitted to it.

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