The Hague, 7 November 2023 – The Restitutions Committee has advised the State Secretary for Culture and Media to restitute the watercolour The Aunts Go on a Journey by Alexander Hugo Bakker Korff to the heirs of Jacob Lierens (1877-1949). The watercolour is part of the Dutch National Art Collection and currently in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe.
On the grounds of research conducted by the Expert Centre Restitution (ECR) the Committee concludes that it is highly likely that the watercolour came from the private collection of Jewish art collector Jacob Lierens of Amsterdam. Research has also shown that it is sufficiently plausible that he lost possession of the watercolour involuntarily as a result of circumstances directly related with the Nazi regime.
Suffering under Anti-Jewish Measures
Jacob Lierens was a partner in the firm of L. Lierens & Co., a dealership in new and waste paper, rags, metals etc. During the war the Lierens family suffered as a result of the anti-Jewish measures. On the grounds of the Removal of Jews from the Business Community Regulation of 12 March 1941 (VO 48/41), the German Michael Hüllen was appointed administrator of Lierens’s firm. He became owner of the business in 1942. Initially Lierens continued working in the firm as an employee, but in due course he was excluded from it. The Lierens family’s house and the lion’s share of the household effects were confiscated.
Involuntary Loss of Possession
No indications were found that suggest that the watercolour ceased being the property of Lierens prior to the German invasion of the Netherlands. An important indication that Lierens lost possession of the watercolour involuntarily is a letter from Bernardus Mensing, a partner in Frederik Muller & Co., which was found in a file in the Central Archives for Criminal Jurisdiction (CABR). In it, Mensing stated he had sold a substantial part of Lierens’s art collection at the latter’s request so that Lierens and his wife could afford a bearable existence during the period they were in hiding. The same file contains a letter from Lierens in which he thanks Mensing for his efforts.
The State Secretary for Culture and Media has adopted the Restitutions Committee’s advice and will restitute the watercolour to the heirs of Jacob Lierens.
Relevant recommendation and summary: Lierens II
Related recommendation: Lierens