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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Museum de Fundatie

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Museum de Fundatie

Blijmarkt 20 8011 NE Zwolle

Investigation results

None of the objects in this museum have problematic provenance.

Result of this investigation

After a thorough investigation of more that 4,500 objects at Museum de Fundatie, investigators have identified one object with problematic provenance. This is a bronze sculpture of Moses attributed to Alessandro Vittoria. The figure is from the Emma Budge collection which was confiscated by the Nazi regime and sold in 1937 at the Berlin auction house of Paul Graupe. The legal representatives of the heirs have been notified. The heirs of Richard Semmel submitted a claim for another painting, Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Bernardo Strozzi, which was referred to the Restitution Committee at the time of the investigation. In a binding recommendation, the committee ruled that the museum was not required to return the painting.
The museum will continue investigating its art collection since the manner in which many of the items were acquired, directly or indirectly, remains unclear and their provenance is therefore incomplete. Some of the objects yet to be investigated may have been obtained under duress. Dirk Hannema, whose private collection forms the basis for the museum collection, was director of Museum Boijmans during the Second World War and a supporter Nazi cultural policy. In 1943-1945 he ran the national museum department as a Dutch Nazi party (NSB) appointee. Although he was involved with dealers who played an unsavoury role in the art market during the war, no direct evidence was ever found that Hannema acquired objects for himself that were stolen from Jews. After the war, he maintained links with dealers he had been involved with during the war. More items were added to the Fundatie collection after Hannema’s death.
The museum consulted various sources in the investigation: the registration system, the museum archive (including the Hannema archive), RKD (The Netherlands Institute for Art History) and the Visual Documentation, private acquisition sources, art gallery archives and publications. The museum has identified several works with incomplete provenance. As mentioned, the investigation is continuing.
A separate report has been issued regarding the investigation into the provenance of objects in Overijssel province’s art collection, which the Fundatie also supervises.

Overijssel provincial art collection investigation

In addition to objects from Dirk Hannema’s collection, as explained above, Museum de Fundatie also possesses a collection of over 5,000 objects accumulated by Overijssel province. Highlights of this collection are 250 paintings, watercolours and drawings by Jan Voerman Sr and modern art of the years 1900-1965 collected by Paul Citroen. Extensive investigation of the collection’s provenance by Fundatie’s investigators has not as yet revealed any objects in the provincial collection to be problematic. Investigators have consulted old inventory cards, account books, artist dossiers, archives of Jan Voerman and Paul Citroen (account books), SNK (Netherlands Art Property Foundation) records and numerous publications.
Not all the records of the items in Paul Citroen’s collection are complete, yet there is no indication of problematic provenance. He bought work directly from artists, and exchanged with them. Citroen recorded all his acquisitions of the years 1919-1977 in his accounts. The Jan Voerman collection was largely accumulated by Henk van Ulsen. He generally bought from private owners, Voerman’s heirs and at auction. The identity of the seller is not always certain.
The museum will continue investigating the provincial art collection since the manner in which many of the items were acquired, directly or indirectly, remains unclear and their provenance is therefore incomplete.

Overijssel provincial art collection investigation

No investigation was carried out in 1999 since no objects were acquired for the provincial collection in the years 1940-1948.

About this museum and its collection

Museum de Fundatie is divided into two locations: Kasteel Het Nijenhuis in Heino and Het Paleis a/d Blijmarkt in Zwolle. Fundatie’s international collection includes paintings, sculpture and graphic art. The collection is based on the private holdings of Dirk Hannema, who lived at Nijenhuis from 1958 until his death in 1984. He founded Stichting Hannema de Stuers Fundatie in 1957, which owns the bulk of the collection, some 3,200 items. This varied collection includes seventeenth- to twentieth-century paintings, sculpture, furniture, applied art, ethnographic objects and Chinese grave gifts.

Overijssel provincial art collection

In 1960, Overijssel province began buying art on a small scale to decorate its Provinciehuis. Much of the collection accumulated after 1971, consists of modern art from the collection of painter and art dealer Paul Citroen. Another major section of the collection comprises paintings, watercolours and drawings by Jan Voerman Sr, purchased in 1994. Since 1993, the entire collection has been in the care of Museum de Fundatie, which continues to expand the provincial collection.