RESTITUTIONS COMMITTEE ADVISES RETURNING A PAINTING BY VAN DE VELDE
The Restitutions Committee has advised the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science (OCW) concerning a claim to a looted work of art. The Committee advises granting the claim to the painting Winter Landscape by Jan van de Velde II from the Rijksmuseum collection.
The painting Winter Landscape by Jan van de Velde II in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam was claimed by the heirs of Curt Glaser, a prominent German art historian of Jewish descent. From 1924, Glaser was director of the Staatliche Kunstbibliothek (the State Art Library) in Berlin. In its recommendation, the Committee describes how, soon after the Nazis assumed power in Germany in 1933, Glaser was subject to anti-Jewish measures and persecution. The authorities ordered Glaser to empty and vacate his home, after which the Gestapo established its headquarters there. In addition, Glaser lost his job due to a law that provided for the removal of Jews and political opponents from the civil service. In preparation for his escape from Germany, Glaser sold his extensive art and book collection, which included the Van de Velde II painting. In July 1933, Glaser and his wife managed to flee from Germany to the United States, where he died in 1943. After having moved from one place to another, the painting by Van de Velde II ended up in the Rijksmuseum in 1935, through a donation from a private collector. Since then, it has been part of the Dutch national art collection. Because the painting by Van de Velde II is government property, it comes under the Dutch government's generous restitution policy.
The Restitutions Committee is of the opinion that Curt Glaser lost possession of this painting involuntarily in 1933, as a result of the persecution he endured by the Nazi regime. The Committee therefore advises the State Secretary to return the painting to Curt Glaser's heirs.
The Restitutions Committee
Since January 2002, the Restitutions Committee has provided recommendations to the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science regarding claims to items of cultural value in the possession of the national government. In addition, the Committee can also issue binding recommendations concerning disputes between two parties over an item of cultural value not in the possession of the national government.