Positive decision on claimed sixteenth-century tapestry to heirs of Oppenheimer

The Hague - The Restitutions Committee has advised Jet Bussemaker, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, to return a sixteenth-century tapestry in the Rijksmuseum to the original owners. The minister has accepted this recommendation.

The Restitutions Committee’s recommendation relates to the sixteenth-century tapestry Chastity with Two Putti, which was purchased by the Rijksmuseum in 1955 and has been part of the museum’s collection ever since. In 2012 the tapestry was claimed by the heirs of Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer, a Jewish couple who ran parts of the Margraf group—a German concern that included several renowned art galleries—in the 1920s. The Nazi authorities regarded the Margraf group as an exponent of the ‘international Jewish jewellery and art trade’. A close friend of Nazi leader Hermann Göring was appointed to liquidate the company. The stock of the subsidiary companies was sold at distress sales forced by the Nazi authorities. The tapestry went under the hammer at one of these sales in 1935.  The Restitutions Committee is of the opinion that Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer involuntarily lost the tapestry in 1935 as a consequence of the persecution measures to which the Nazi regime subjected them. The Committee consequently advises the Minister, in accordance with the restitution policy applicable to the State collection, to return the tapestry to their heirs.

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 looted art—items of cultural value lost during the Nazi regime. Since 2002 the Restitutions Committee has advised on 124 occasions and 138 claims have been submitted to it. Willibrord Davids has been the Chairman of the Restitutions Committee since 1 January 2009.