Paschal Lamb by J. Beuckelaer
Advice concerning the application for restitution of NK 2646
By letter of 8 February 2002 the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science asked the Committee for advice about the decision to be taken concerning the restitution of the "Paschal Lamb", a painting by J. Beuckelaer (NK 2646).
The Cultural Heritage Ownership Inspectorate (Inspectie Cultuurbezit) carried out an investigation in connection with the application for restitution filed in June 2001. The findings of the investigation were included in a research report dated 8 November 2001, which was sent to the applicant.
The Committee has drawn up its opinion with due regard for the relevant lines of policy issued by the Ekkart Committee and the government, as referred to in the Decree establishing the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications.
The Committee asked itself whether it is acceptable that an opinion to be issued is influenced by its potential consequences for decisions in other cases. The Committee resolved that such influence cannot be accepted, save cases where special circumstances apply, since allowing such influence would be impossible to justify to the applicant concerned.
The Committee then asked itself how to deal with the circumstance that certain facts can no longer be traced, that certain data has been lost or has not been retrieved, or that evidence can no longer be otherwise compiled. On this issue the Committee believes that, if the problems that have arisen can be attributed at least in part to the lapse of time, the associated risk should be borne by the government, save cases where exceptional circumstances apply.
Finally, the Committee believes that insights and circumstances which, according to generally accepted views, have evidently changed since the Second World War should be granted the status of new facts.
It appears from the aforementioned research report that the Jewish couple B., owners of the painting "Paschal Lamb" by J. Beuckelaer (NK 2646), involuntarily lost possession of that painting between 1938 and 1941.
As confirmed in a letter by the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science dated 16 November 2001, cases involving the sale or involuntary loss of art objects that are directly related to the Nazi regime in Germany from 1933 and in Austria from 1938 should, in principle, be assessed against the same criteria as those applied to sales and involuntary losses in the Netherlands from 10 May 1940.
These criteria warrant the conclusion that the application for restitution may be allowed. It is extremely likely that the applicant indeed holds title to the work. In view of current policy on this matter, prescription of the application, which was not previously filed with the appropriate bodies for the restoration of property rights, will not be invoked. In the event that the involuntary loss was accompanied by the involuntary sale of the object, restitution of the proceeds that may have been generated by that transaction cannot be claimed as there are no clues that might help to identify the amount involved.
In view of the above, the Committee advises the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science to return the painting "Paschal Lamb" by J. Beuckelaer (NK 2646) to the B. heirs.
Adopted at the meeting of 25 March 2002.
J.M. Polak (Chairman)
B.J. Asscher (Vice Chairman)
E.J. van Straaten
H.M. Verrijn Stuart