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  #21  
Old 04-01-2015, 09:26 AM
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What I do not understand: in 1960 Queen Juliana purchased "The Hague Forest with view on Huis ten Bosch Palace" by Joris Abrahamszoon van der Haagen (1615-1669). A centuries old painting, depicting an Orange-Nassau residence: no wonder Queen Juliana purchased it. Apparently in 1942 it was "bought" (read: looted, because bought by an enforced absurd low estimation) by the bank Lippman, Rosenthal & Co in Amsterdam from a Jewish collectioner. The commission confirmed that Queen Juliana had no idea about the tragic events, earlier in 1942, when she bought the painting in 1960. Now I understand her grandson, the King, has ordered the painting to be handed over to the heirs of the owner who "sold" it in 1942.

But what about the King himself? He feels forced to abandon a centuries-old painting which depicts his very own residence, to the heirs, possibly somewhere in the USA, whom have no any attachment to the building on that painting. His grandmother paid an (undoubtedly formidable) sum for the painting, all in good trust. Isn't it weird that the King now has to hand over property which was simply bought from an arts & antiquities shop in Amsterdam, while he is completely without any blame? He was not even born when his grandmother purchased that painting.

Of course the Orange-Nassaus have thousands and thousands of artworks but it is about the principle. Imagine that the King purchases an antique parure of diamonds and Pearls and gives it to Queen Máxima. Suddenly it becomes clear that the cassette once belonged to a Jewish family and was looted during the occupation. How could the King know? So, he will feel enforced to hand over that glittering parure to the heirs of a lady 70-80 years ago, while he has done nothing wrong.

I applaud the King's swift action but I tried to imagine myself (not so affluent with cash as His Majesty) in the same situation. Suddenly I have to hand over that painting which my grandfather once, in all honesty, purchased in Antwerp or Brussels. Hellooooo! That is my painting! Am I the only one who sees some unlogic in the situation? It implies that the King (or you and me) have to investigate way back what the origins are from artefacts offered for sale...

No idea who was the seller of the painting by Joris Abrahamszoon van der Haagen. If he still has a shop, maybe I would sue him for selling looted stuff, even when it is about a sale more than half a century ago...


This is the painting "The Hague Forest with view on Huis ten Bosch Palace" by Joris Abrahamszoon van der Haagen (1615-1669):
http://www.nltimes.nl/wp-content/upl...n-1024x670.jpg
Click on the picture to expand.
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  #22  
Old 04-01-2015, 01:03 PM
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If it is 'the principle that counts' as you say, I think other principles are more important. The painting was stolen ('forced to sell') from a Dutch-Jewish family. I assume that much of the family was murdered during the war. Their possessions were most likely never returned. This happened in many cases when Jewish survivors came back: other people took over their houses, their material possessions were looted etc. In Amsterdam Jewish survivors even had to pay tax when they returned from the camps as they were unable to do so while they were held. It is shameful. Returning the painting was the only right thing to do and I am happy that the king realized this.

The family can decide what to do with the painting next. Maybe they want to keep it, maybe they want to sell it, maybe they want to lend it. Who knows? But it can only be their decision. It is a pity for the royal collection indeed, Queen Juliana bought it in good faith indeed, but that does not take away that the king did the only right thing.
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  #23  
Old 04-01-2015, 01:13 PM
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Yes of course the King did the right thing, but imagine in 1962 or so, your grandmother bought a nice set of porcelain tableware. Your grandmother, your mother and finally you yourself have been absolutely careful with the fantastic tableware, which has decorated so many of your family's best dinners.

Then suddenly it figured out that your grandmother -with the best intentions- seems to have bought items which were once looted. This means that YOU, suddenly are requested to hand over everything to heirs somewhere. Yes, justice is done to the heirs. But new injustice is done: to you, to your mother and to your grandmother, if you understand the point I try to make.
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Old 04-01-2015, 01:22 PM
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Somehow that injustice pales in comparison IMHO, so I think many would be glad to correct such a thing.
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Old 04-01-2015, 01:46 PM
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There is another painting purchased by (then) Princess Juliana in 1948, called Saint Hubertus in a landscape, by the Flemish master Paul Bril (1554-1626). It was claimed that this was looted from a Jewish owner too.

The commission has investigated this claim as well:
- Professor Dr. R.E.O. Ekkart, former director of the State Agency for Art-historic documentation
- Mrs J.C.E. Belinfante LL.M., director of the Museum of Jewish History in Amsterdam
- Professor Dr. J.P. Sigmond, former director collections of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The commission concluded that the painting was bought by Princess Juliana from the Netherlands Art Property Foundation, in 1948. Various sources were investigated but no information or insights were found which might lead to a looting, enforced sale or confisquation. Possibly the painting has once been owned by the Jewish Dutch art painter Joseph Henri Gosschalk. The archives give no indication whom owned the painting before the end of 1939 / the begin of 1940. It has become clear that before May 1940 (the start of the Nazi occupation) the painting was owned by a Dutch art trader whom declared that the sale was fully voluntarily. The heirs of Joseph Henri Gosschalk have not laid a claim on the painting.

The bulk of the royal collections predate 1933. Helpful to this was an inventory made by an insurance company which has written in exhausting long lists and into detail every single item in the collection. Thanks to this inventory, the commission could easily rule out all items before 1933 and concentrate on all artworks collectioned after 1933. By the way, the commission wrote that many, many artworks and valuables from the royal family have been looted from the various royal residences in the years 1940-1945. After the Nazi occupation new inventory lists were made of all what was left in the palaces, so that the royal family was able to see what has been stolen during the war years. Understandably between May 1940 and May 1945 (the Nazi occupation) no new items were added to the royal collections.

After ruling out all what has been purchased before 1933 (thanks to the Insurance inventories and the after-WWII inventory) and by ruling out purchases with a clear proof of non-Jewish origin, some 1.300 artworks remained open for furtherer investigation. Every single item has been investigated. By almost everything the Royal House Archives could provide documentation of name, date, price, and details of every purchase (contract, etc).

This is the report (in Dutch): http://www.koninklijkhuis.nl/media/1...zamelingen.pdf
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  #26  
Old 04-01-2015, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
Somehow that injustice pales in comparison IMHO, so I think many would be glad to correct such a thing.
Sure, when my name is Willem-Alexander. But when I am not Willem-Alexander and I suddenly have to hand over valuables which have been in my family -simply bought at a respected art dealer, more than half a century ago-, I would not feel too happy. "Hey hello, here are the two silver candelabras my great-grandmother once bought at an auction in the 1960's. Apparently your great-great-grandfather seems to have been enforced to sell it to Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co".

No, I would not be happy. It feels as letting someone paying damages for someone else. (The Nazis looted it but I have to pay for it). There is something not correct here but okay. The King grinds his teeth and hands over the artwork. He can do that. He has tens of thousands of artefacts.

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Old 04-01-2015, 05:42 PM
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As far as I can understood, nobody forced His Majesty to return the painting to the heirs of its previous owner; it was instead a decision taken by the King.
I can't see any problem if he choses to give away, for a very specific reason, one of the many paintings of the royal collections.
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MAfan View Post
As far as I can understood, nobody forced His Majesty to return the painting to the heirs of its previous owner; it was instead a decision taken by the King.
I can't see any problem if he choses to give away, for a very specific reason, one of the many paintings of the royal collections.
The King was so wise to act pro-actively. There was no any chance for a media storm: "The Oranges have looted art!". Only one has been discovered and even before it was made public the case has already been settled. Very wise.

At the other hand, there are thousands and thousands and thousands of Dutch families owning artworks and valuables which were once looted from the Jewish fellow citizens. There are countless stories of Jewish survivors whom came back from the camps and found their homes looted. Then they knocked at the neighbour's door to discover that granny's Persian carpet and uncle's piano are suddenly in that living room...

Around 110.000 Dutch Jews were murdered (from a Jewish community with 140.000 people in total). All these poor souls have left their homes, their officies, their shops, their companies. Where are all these properties? All Dutch museums have investigated their collections. Now also the royal family. In the newspapers and on online forums there were sensationalist stories about the royal family living in palaces, surrounded by looted stuff. Easy to comment on. Luckily only one painting was found.

But not one from all those countless Dutch families dares to investigate the own family properties. They are not in the public eye, so they do not suffer "public justice". What the King was "forced" to do (to end the rumours) was not requested from rich Dutch families as Philips, Heineken, Brenninkmeijer, etc. Most likely they have purchased art as well, in the 70 years since WWII and most likely there will be artworks from Jewish origin as well. No attention for that. These families live a discreet life and their doors remain shut. So there is some inbalance in that as well, in comparison with the royal family.

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Old 04-01-2015, 06:59 PM
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Well, it is up to their choice, whether to act in one way or another; just like it was the King's choice to act wisely and proactively and to settle the matter with the heirs of the previous owners. Besides, it isn't publicly known how the issue has been settled between them.

Again, I can't see any problem. The decision of the King to settle the matter with the heirs has been a wise and correct one IMHO and that's all.
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:02 PM
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I should imagine that King Willem-Alexander was more than happy to assist in this matter and feels no loss or regret in having the painting returned, given the circumstances. I am sure most people would see it the same way or be thankful they are not in the same position. To my mind, he has set a good example of how these things should be dealt with.
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