Getty Museum to return Dutch painting looted by Nazis
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The J. Paul Getty Museum has agreed to return a 370-year-old painting that once belonged to an art dealer who fled Holland when the Nazis invaded in 1940.
Jacques Goudstikker was the Netherlands’ biggest art dealer in the 1930s. He was fleeing the Nazis with his wife and young son at the beginning of World War II when he fell through a trap door on an outbound ship and died.
His collection was looted, with some works claimed by Adolf Hitler chief deputy Hermann Goering.
Goudstikker’s daughter-in-law, Marei von Saher, has spent years trying to track down the works. Her successes have been on tour around the country in an exhibition that ends Tuesday in San Francisco and featured 45 recovered pieces from the collection.
The Getty bought the 1640 Pieter Molijn painting titled Landscape With Cottage and Figures in good faith at a 1972 auction, the museum said, according to the Los Angeles Times. The museum did not disclose the purchase price and has never displayed the painting.
“Working in cooperation with representatives of the Goudstikker heirs, the Getty’s research revealed that the painting was in Goudstikker’s inventory at the time of the invasion in 1940, and that it was never restituted after World War II,” according to a written statement from the museum. “Based on its findings, the Getty concluded that the painting should be transferred to the heirs.”
At least four other museums in the United States and Canada have works from the collection, and family attorney Lawrence Kaye said he hopes they will follow Getty’s lead. About 1,000 of Goudstikker’s 1,400 paintings remain unaccounted for, he said.
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