Positive decision on claimed Jan Steen to heirs of Mautner

The Hague, 24 January 2013 - The Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War has advised Minister Jet Bussemaker of Education, Culture and Science to return a painting by Jan Steen, which is currently in the Dutch National Collection, to the former owner’s heirs. The Minister has adopted this recommendation.

Fleeing the Nazi regime
Until the Second World War, this painting by Jan Steen, River landscape with figures and a waggon in front of a tower (NK 2655), belonged to Jewish economist and art collector Wilhelm Mautner. In its advice, the Committee concludes that Mautner was forced to sell the Jan Steen painting during the war, possibly through an agent, in view of an attempt to flee the Nazi regime. The Committee considers the sale of the painting to have been involuntary due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime. As such, it advises the Minister to return the painting to Mautner’s heirs. In 2009, two other paintings from the Dutch National Collection were also already awarded to Mautner’s heirs.

Two claims to the same work
The Jan Steen painting is also part of the application for restitution concerning art dealership Firma D. Katz in Dieren. Because of this, the two claims were investigated and handled in conjunction with each other. The investigation yielded no clarity as to the role of art dealership Katz in the Steen painting’s provenance history, so that the claim to this artwork in that case was rejected. It was announced in a separate press release today that the Katz recommendation was adopted by the Minister.

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 art looted as a consequence of the Nazi regime. Since its establishment in 2002, it 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: 
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