Investigation into the provenance of museum collections in connection with the theft, confiscation and sale of objects under duress between 1933 and 1945.

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Amsterdam Museum

Kalverstraat 92 1012 MN Amsterdam www.amsterdammuseum.nl

Investigation results

This museum has 6 objects with a potentially problematic provenance.

Result of this investigation

The investigators consulted the collection registration system, the museum archive, including local municipal records, collection catalogues, publications and websites. Objects defined as not having uniquely identifiable characteristics were not investigated. Objects given directly by the artist or the artist’s family or of which the provenance precludes the years 1933 to 1945, did not require further investigation. The remaining objects were investigated in more detail at RKD (The Netherlands Institute for Art History), focusing particularly on auction catalogues and pictorial documentation.

Objects on loan from Stichting Genootschap Amsterdams Historisch Museum were included in the investigation. The investigation of the museum’s drawings brought little new information to light regarding provenance.
The investigation enabled the museum to identify problems relating to the provenance of a number of paintings and objects:

  • Dirk Meesters, The Raft of the Medusa (copy after Géricault).This painting was donated in 1950 by Stichting 1940-1945 after it had been abandoned in a municipal building by retreating Germans;
  • Cornelis van der Voort, Portrait of Anna Jacobsdr Blaeu (1556-1627) and Paulus Constantijn la Fargue, View of Swanenburg Gemeenlandshuis at Halfweg. Both of these came from the collection of Siegfried Paul Daniël May and his wife Rosine Mariane May-Fuld. They had committed suicide in May 1940, after which the Germans impounded their collection and auctioned it in October and December 1941 at Frederik Muller. The museum bought the painting at Lempertz auction in Cologne on 20 April 1965. The drawing was acquired in 1970 from an art dealer in Amsterdam. The museum informed the heirs of the May-Fuld family.
  • Two silver salt cellars made by Johannes Lutma (I) in 1643 were part of the collection of Emma Budge, daughter of a Jewish businessman in Hamburg. After her death in 1937, her art collection was confiscated by the Nazi regime and auctioned by Paul Graupe, a Berlin art dealer. In March 1960, the museum bought the salt cellars at a Frederik Muller auction. The museum is arranging to contact the family through their representative.
  • Anonymous, after Bartholomeus van der Helst, Portrait of Joan Huydecoper: the Goudstikker archive at RKD (The Netherlands Institute for Art History) indicates that Goudstikker art gallery, then under the control of Alois Miedl, sold this portrait to a private buyer in 1941. In 1955, the museum bought the painting from an art gallery in Amsterdam. 
  • Anonymous, Portrait of Wynolt Feelinck. The museum bought the portrait in 1984 from a private seller. It is unclear where the painting was between 1935 and 1984. The label on the reverse suggests that its provenance may be problematic: ‘OFFICE SUISSE DE COMPENSATION Service de la liquidation des biens allemands No. 0039’. ‘Roselh 438’ is inscribed on the back of the frame. 

The museum has made provenance investigation a standard part of its acquisition procedure.

Update 

On 30 March 2015 the Restitutions Committee gave binding advice to restitute the painting Portrait of Joan Huydecoper by Bartholomeus van der Helst to the legal successors of its former owner. Read more about this at http://www.restitutiecommissie.nl/en/recommendations/recommendation_3144.html

In December 2015 this painting was officially restituted to the legal successors of its former owner.

Information from previous research (report Museum Acquisitions 1940-1948)

View reaction of Amsterdam Museum in the report Museale acquisitions 1940-1948 which was published in 1999 in response to the previous museum research.

About this museum and its collection

The museum, housed in the buildings that once formed Amsterdam’s civic orphanage, presents a varied collection of exhibits illustrating the history of the city of Amsterdam. Paintings, drawings, prints, multimedia, archaeological finds and other exhibits show how Amsterdam developed from a village to a sixteenth-century town and the world city it is today.

Objects

View of Swanenburg Gemeenlandshuis at Halfweg

View of Swanenburg Gemeenlandshuis at Halfweg

Artist/ Creator
Paulus Constantijn la Fargue
Title
View of Swanenburg Gemeenlandshuis at Halfweg
Year
Probably 1778
Technique
Pen and brush and grey ink
Size
280 x 451 mm
Inventorynumber
TA 31358
Category
Drawings
Museum
Amsterdam Museum

Investigation results

Conclusion

This drawing is part of the collection confiscated from Mr and Mrs May-Fuld, a Jewish couple.

Explanation

Like the painting by Cornelis van der...

more information

Two silver salt cellars

Two silver salt cellars

Artist/ Creator
Johannes Lutma I
Title
Two silver salt cellars
Year
1643
Technique
Parcel gilt silver
Size
KA 8050: 801,4 gram en KA 8051: 774 gram
Inventorynumber
KA 8050 en KA 8051
Description

KA 8050: h. 23.3 cm, l. 12.6 cm, b. 11.6 cm, weight 801.4 grams

Category
Applied art
Museum
Amsterdam Museum

Investigation results

more information

Portrait of Wynolt Feelinck

Portrait of Wynolt Feelinck

Artist/ Creator
Anonymous
Title
Portrait of Wynolt Feelinck
Year
2nd half 16th century
Technique
Oil on panel
Size
99 x 67 cm
Inventorynumber
SA 39217
Category
Paintings
Museum
Amsterdam Museum

Investigation results

Conclusion

Where this painting was between 1935 and 1984 is not known. The label on the reverse suggests that it had once been owned by a German person or...

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Portrait of Joan Huydecoper

Portrait of Joan Huydecoper

Artist/ Creator
Anonymous (copy after Bartholomeus van der Helst)
Title
Portrait of Joan Huydecoper
Year
after 1656
Technique
Oil on canvas
Size
72,5 x 65 cm
Inventorynumber
SA 5091
Category
Paintings
Museum
Amsterdam Museum

Investigation results

Conclusion

This painting probably belonged to a Jewish collector who felt compelled under the wartime conditions to sell some of his...

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Portrait of Anna Jacobsdr Blaeu (1556-1627)

Portrait of Anna Jacobsdr Blaeu (1556-1627)

Artist/ Creator
Cornelis van der Voort
Title
Portrait of Anna Jacobsdr Blaeu (1556-1627)
Year
1622
Technique
Oil on panel
Size
122 x 90 cm
Inventorynumber
SA 23544
Category
Paintings
Museum
Amsterdam Museum

Investigation results

Conclusion

This drawing is part of the collection confiscated from Mr and Mrs May-Fuld, a Jewish couple.

Explanation

Like the drawing by Paulus...

more information

The Raft of the Medusa

The Raft of the Medusa

Artist/ Creator
Dirk Meesters (copy after Théodore Géricault)
Title
The Raft of the Medusa
Year
1914-1950
Technique
Oil on canvas
Size
110 x 160 cm
Inventorynumber
SA 2643
Category
Paintings
Museum
Amsterdam Museum

Investigation results

Conclusion

No information is available about who owned this painting before it passed to Stichting 1940-1945.

Explanation

The painting was abandoned by...

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