Summary of Recommendation regarding Lierens II
The Restitutions Committee has assessed an application for restitution of the watercolour The Aunts Go on a Journey (1881) by Alexander Hugo Bakker Korff (hereinafter also referred to as the watercolour), which is currently in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe. The Committee has come to the conclusion on the grounds of the investigation conducted by the Expert Centre Restitution (ECR) that it is highly likely that the artwork came from the private collection of the Jewish art collector Jacob Lierens (1877-1949) of Amsterdam. It has also become sufficiently plausible that Lierens lost possession of the watercolour involuntarily as a result of circumstances directly connected with the Nazi regime.
The investigation has shown that in 1924 the watercolour was part of Lierens’s art collection. No indications were found that suggest that the watercolour ceased being the property of Lierens prior to the German invasion of the Netherlands.
In July 1941 the watercolour was put into a sale at the Frederik Muller & Co auction house in Amsterdam. The watercolour was acquired by Jan Bernard Scholten of Enschede, who in 1925 had acquired a painting by the same artist with the same theme from Lierens. Scholten bequeathed his art collection to his younger sister Ida Scholten, who after his death donated the collection to the State of the Netherlands, for use by the Rijksmuseum Twenthe.
A further 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 Special 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 Restitutions Committee has advised the State Secretary for Culture and Media to restitute the watercolour The Aunts Go on a Journey to the heirs of Jacob Lierens.