The heirs of Richard Semmel, a Jewish industrialist persecuted by the Nazis, say they are outraged by the Dutch Restitutions Committee’s decision to reject their claim for two Old Masters on the grounds that the works are more important to the museums which currently house them than they are to the heirs. The Restitutions Committee dismissed claims by Semmel’s heirs for three of four paintings they say he sold at auction in 1933 after fleeing Nazi Germany. Though the committee found that Semmel sold three works under duress as a result of persecution, it said in an emailed statement that the heirs’ interest in two of the works “carries less weight” than the museums’. The two works in question are Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Bernardo Strozzi (currently part of the collection of the Museum de Fundatie in Heino) and Madonna and Child with Wild Roses by Jan van Scorel (in the possession of the Central Museum in Utrecht).
Read the Committee’s press release here.

139 Artworks Looted from Jews in Holocaust Found at Dutch Museums - October 29, 2013
A special commission on stolen Holocaust-era art in the Netherlands has determined that dozens of Dutch museums are in possession of at least 139 items with �problematic origins.� The list that the Committee for Museum Acquisitions from 1933 onwards published today includes priceless items that are currently held by 41 museums, including the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk. The full findings are to be published on the Dutch website www.musealeverwervingen.nl today, and will be translated into English in the near future. The study does not offer recommendations on possible restitution. BBC notes that in the past, the Dutch government returned over 200 works to the daughter-in-law of Jacques Goudstikker, including a painting by Jan Mostaert valued at $14 million.
See the BBC article here.


Press & Scholarly