Three items in the collection of the Drents Museum may have been looted during World War II.
RTV Drenthe reports that two porcelain vases, two Chinese porcelain pots and a Delft blue tray may have originally belonged to families or individuals but may be stolen by members of the National Socialist Movement (NSB) in the Netherlands. The items were anonymously donated to the museum.
News reports on Wednesday estimated that 170 items in collections of Dutch museums may have been stolen from victims targeted by the NSB. Back in 2009, the Dutch Museum Association requested that its members create an inventory of pieces that entered their collections between 1933 and the end of the Second World War in 1945.
There were 163 museums which took part in the decade-long inventory, including the Drents Museum. An investigation revealed that the museum may have been aware of the questionable provenance of the pieces in question, but the museum is reportedly still unable to confirm where the pieces came from.
The national investigation found that 83 paintings, 26 sketches, three sculptures, 45 craftworks and 13 Jewish religious relics currently in 42 different Dutch museums may have been stolen, confiscated or forcibly sold during the Nazi regime in the Netherlands. According to Trouw, some of the most popular museums in the Netherlands may have wrongly obtained works in their collections, including the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Other northern museums
The entire list of museums whose collections were analysed and their results is available online, so the Northern Times looked at the results for other museums in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland to see if they had any dubiously sourced items in their collections.
The Fries Museum in Leeuwarden has one item in its collection that may have unscrupulous origins: a painting by Lambert Jacobz called “The three angels visit Abraham”. The painting was brought to a Weinmüller auction in 1943 by Dienststelle Mühlmann, a German art looting group which resold thousands of works of art. It is unclear how the painting came into the organisation’s possession.
The Veenkoloniaal Museum in the province of Groningen declined to participate in the inventory because they had already critically analysed their collection in the 1940s. However, one item in the museum’s collection is of unclear provenance: a mizrach, an ornamental plaque related to prayer in Judaism, created by Levie David van Gelder. It is unknown how the museum obtained the piece.
A number of small museums in Leeuwarden declined to participate due to the limited size and scope of their collections. The Ceramic Museum Princessehof did participate and was found to have no questionable items.
Three museums in the city of Groningen – the Grafisch Museum, the University Museum and the Noordelijk Scheepsvaartmuseum – declined to participate as well on account of the niche nature of their collections and lack of note-worthy historical pieces. The Groninger Museum did participate in the inventory and no problematic items were found in their collection.
In Drenthe, Museum De Buitenplaats and the International Clog Museum in Eelde declined to take part due to the specificity of their collections. The Print Museum in Meppel declined on similar grounds: their collection began in 1985.
Photo source: Musealeverwervingen.nl