(Netherlands) Dutch Court Rejects Return of Kandinsky Painting to Jewish Heirs #holocaust #announcements
Jan Meisels Allen
The Amsterdam District Court upheld a 2018 ruling by the Netherlands restitution committee and rejected a restitution case brought by the Jewish heirs that originally owned a painting by Wassily Kandinsky. The painting was bought by the city of Amsterdam at auction in 1940. Amsterdam District Court upheld a 2018 ruling by the Netherlands’ Restitutions Committee that the artwork titled “Painting With Houses,” which is in the collection of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, does not have to be returned to the Lewenstein family. Lawyers of the heirs said they will appeal. The painting is estimated to be worth €18m.
Legal counsel for the family said. .
“If this court decision is left unchallenged then Dutch restitution policy will effectively be non-existent, and important looted art in The Netherlands will likely never be restituted” said the legal counsel for the family.
The 2018 ruling said the painting was not stolen or confiscated before it was auctioned, but also stated that the sale “cannot on the one hand be considered in isolation from the Nazi regime, but on the other hand has to have been caused to an extent by the deteriorating financial circumstances” of the original owners before Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the Netherlands during World War II.
Lawyers for the heirs argued that the restitution committee included members “who apparently have a strong bias in favor of the Stedelijk Museum” and ignored other legal issues linked to the restitution of art sold by Jewish families before and during the war.
The court rejected the arguments.
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Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee