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Restitutions Committee Binding opinion: Kandinsky Painting Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche Finally Returns to Heirs of Jewish Family

15 September 2022
Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche (Foto Peter Cox, Eindhoven) Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche by Wassily Kandinsky (foto: Peter Cox, Eindhoven)

The Hague, 15 September 2022 – The Restitutions Committee rules that the painting Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche [known in English as View of Murnau with Church] by the artist Wassily Kandinsky is to be restituted by Eindhoven City Council to the heirs of Johanna Margarethe Stern-Lippmann (1874-1944). The work has been in the collection of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven since 1951.

The Restitutions Committee concluded on the basis of new facts that it is sufficiently plausible that Margarethe Stern-Lippman lost possession involuntarily during the Nazi regime.
The Committee issued a binding ruling on 29 January 2018 rejecting an earlier application for restitution of this work. At the time it was not possible to establish that Margarethe Stern-Lippmann, the Applicants’ Jewish grandmother/great-grandmother, had lost possession of the work during the Nazi regime.

New Indications
On the basis of new documents that were not yet known at the time of the first application, the Committee had a new investigation conducted into the circumstances of Margarethe Stern-Lippmann’s loss of possession. Three indications emerged from the investigation that make the loss of possession during the war plausible. This underpinning can be perused on the Restitutions Committee’s website. Margarethe Stern-Lippmann was Jewish and therefore, on the grounds of the assessment framework approved by the government, the loss of possession was involuntary, unless there is express evidence to the contrary. The latter is not the case, and as described in the binding opinion, the fate of Margarethe and her art collection is clear.

Eindhoven City Council has concurred with the Restitutions Committee’s binding ruling and will restitute the painting Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche to the heirs of Margarethe Stern-Lippmann.

Relevant binding opinion and summary: Binding opinion regarding Stern-Lippmann / Eindhoven City Council II

Related binding opinion: Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche by Wassily Kandinsky

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Note for editors
Since 2001 the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War – the Restitutions Committee for short – has been handling restitution applications relating to Nazi looted art. The Restitutions Committee was established by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, but it operates independently.

Contact details:
Else van Sterkenburg, Secretary: +31 (0)6-22 71 98 13, e.vansterkenburg@restitutiecommissie.nl
Martine Pauli, Communications Advisor: +31 (0)6-27 83 49 53, m.pauli@caop.nl

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