THE HAGUE, 28 November 2019 – The Restitutions Committee has issued a binding opinion about the application for restitution of the painting Mountainous Landscape by Jacob van Geel, currently in the possession of Rotterdam City Council. The Committee takes the view that the City Council is not obliged to restitute the work.
The City Council acquired the painting in 1978 as a consequence of a bequest by the art dealer Vitale Bloch. Since then the painting has been in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. Bloch acquired the work earlier from the Jewish artist and collector Joseph Henri Gosschalk. The applicants for restitution in this case are heirs of Gosschalk and they assert that he lost possession of the painting involuntarily during his internment in Westerbork transit camp due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime. The applicants and the City Council laid the claim before the Restitutions Committee for investigation and a binding opinion.
The Restitutions Committee concluded on the basis of the investigation conducted in this case that Bloch acquired the painting from Gosschalk in 1940 or possibly earlier. In regard to this, the Committee is of the opinion that insufficient facts and circumstances have been established on the grounds of which it can be deduced with the required degree of plausibility that Gosschalk lost possession of the painting as a result of circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime. In its binding opinion of 11 November 2019 the Restitutions Committee concluded that Rotterdam City Council is not obliged to restitute the painting.
The full text of the recommendation is on the Restitutions Committee’s website, see link on the bottom of this page.
About the Restitutions Committee
The Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War advises about claims to items of cultural value lost during the Nazi period, also referred to as looted art. Since the Restitutions Committee was established in 2002 it has issued 161 recommendations and opinions and has had 182 claims submitted to it. The Committee is chaired by Fred Hammerstein.
Relevant binding opinion: Painting Mountainous Landscape by Jacob van Geel