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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Fries Museum

Turfmarkt 11 8911 KS Leeuwarden www.friesmuseum.nl

Investigation results

This museum has 1 object with a potentially problematic provenance.

Result of this investigation

Fries Museum focused mainly on identifiable old paintings and especially remarkable applied art in its investigation. The basic sources for the investigators were the museum’s inventory cards and inventory books. Where investigators felt there a need for further investigation, they checked annual reports, correspondence, Second World War art dossiers, SNK (Netherlands Art Property Foundation) archive records of missing objects, Bureau Herkomst Gezocht and RKD (The Netherlands Institute for Art History) records. Retired directors, a former curator and art gallery staff were interviewed.
The provenance investigation revealed various paintings in the Frisian Museum collection with potentially problematic provenance. Frisian Museum received a painting from the NK art property foundation collection: a vanitas still life by Petrus Schotanus. Bureau Herkomst Gezocht examined its provenance, and the findings are published on the Herkomst Gezocht website.
An object with a possibly problematic provenance is Lambert Jacobsz’s, Abraham and the Three Angels. This was sold at auction in 1943 by Dienststelle Mühlmann at a Weinmüller sale. Archive records show that the work had belonged to a person referred to as Nicoll. Who or what that signifies is unclear. It is also unclear how Dienststelle Mühlmann acquired the painting.
The museum holds numerous objects on loan from Ottema-Kingma Stichting. The directors of this private foundation wished to participate in the investigation; their report can be found at Keramiekmuseum Princessehof. Nanne Ottema acquired objects before and during the war from Jewish art galleries, including I.B. de Vries’s antique shop. Among the items from this shop that entered the museum collection in various ways, not all were restored to their rightful owners or heirs after the war. In 1985, Frisian Museum’s director at that time resolved a case with the heirs of the De Vries family satisfactorily. Some of the material which survived was donated to the museum and is displayed in the old museum on Turfmarkt in a memorial cabinet devoted to De Vries’s art gallery.

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

View reaction of Fries 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

Frisian Museum focuses on the art, culture and history of Friesland. It has a collection of around 170,000 items, ranging from archaeological objects to modern art. The museum also incorporates the Frisian Resistance Museum, which opened in 1979 and tells the story of Friesland in the Second World War.

Objects

Abraham and the Three Angels

Abraham and the Three Angels

Artist/ Creator
Lambert Jacobsz.
Title
Abraham and the Three Angels
Year
1628
Technique
Oil on panel
Size
59 x 81,5 cm
Inventorynumber
S1977-004
Category
Paintings
Museum
Fries Museum

Investigation results

Conclusion

Little is known about the Nicoll collection, to which this painting belonged before it was acquired by Dienststelle Mühlmann. It is unclear who Nicoll was and...

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