Press release RC 1.75

PAINTING BY DE KEYSER TO BE RETURNED TO HEIRS 

THE HAGUE   - The Restitutions Committee has recommended that the painting Portrait of a man by T. de Keyser be returned to the heirs of the Jewish art collector Richard Semmel. 

The Committee concluded that Richard Semmel, a Jewish businessman and renowned art collector from Berlin, was the original owner of the painting. Semmel fled Nazi Germany in 1933. Due to his Jewish roots and his active involvement in the German Democratic Party, he became a target for persecution immediately after the Nazis assumed power.

The Committee is of the opinion that Semmel sold the painting by T. de Keyser to fund his escape. They, therefore, consider the loss of possession to be involuntary due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime. On the basis of this, the Restitutions Committee advised the Minister for Education, Culture and Science to return the painting Portrait of a man by T. de Keyser to the rightful claimants to the estate of Richard Semmel.

This painting was also part of an application for restitution concerning the Dieren-based art dealership Firma Katz (RC 1.90-A). After investigation, however, that claim was rejected by the Committee.

The Restitutions Committee
Since January 2002, the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War, or Restitutions Committee, has provided recommendations to the Minister for Education, Culture and Science regarding 75 claims to items of cultural value in the possession of the national government. In addition, the Committee has also issued three binding recommendations concerning disputes between two parties over an item of cultural value not in the possession of the national government. Since 1 January 2009, the Committee has been under the chairmanship of Willibrord Davids.

More information:
For more information, please contact Evelien Campfens, secretary/rapporteur of the Restitutions Committee, on +31(0)70 376 59 92.

Relevant recommendations: