Showing posts with label Rijksmuseum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rijksmuseum. Show all posts

May 15, 2014

Dutch media reports that Gutmann family porcelain auctioned in 1934 ended up in museums in The Netherlands

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Dutch art investigator Arthur Brand sent me a link to an article posted in English on May 14 by Maxime Zech in the NLTimes.nl, "Nazi-stolen art in Rijksmuseum, Palace Het Loo:Report". I asked Mr. Brand if people in The Netherlands were surprised, and here's his response:
Yes, people are highly surprised. Just recently an extensive search has been closed and those items were not discovered. Some huge names are involved. There is no doubt that these 15 items, divided amongst five museums, including Palace Het Loo and the Rijksmuseum, have to be considered as looted. They were all auctioned in 1934 and that particular auction has been considered by both the German and Austrian government as being an "involuntary sale". This absolutely does not mean that the Palace or the museums did know that they once bought looted art. Far from that: this is a worldwide problem that just shows that we have done too little, too late regarding provenance-research...
Here's the article:
The art collection of Palace Het Loo, the Rijksmuseum and three other museums are thought to include pieces and artifacts that were looted from a Jewish family during a Nazi plunder, the Telegraaf reports. In total, 15 pieces of a valuable Meissen porcelain dinnerware ware set may have been stolen from the Gutmann family. The items may have been put up for auction in 1934 under coercion from the Nazis. Now, 80 years after the fact, Amsterdam investigation bureau Artiaz was able to trace the pieces, to the museums. “We are taking this very seriously, and are going to establish an origins research action immediately”, a spokesperson of the Paleis Het Loo National Museum Foundation said in a reaction.
Artiaz traced the dinnerware set pieces by looking through old auction documents.
“Salacious is that the Ekkart commission concluded a big investigation into looted art in Dutch museums without detecting these set pieces”, says Arthur Brand who executed the investigations with David Kleefstra and Alex Omhoff. 
The Facts and Files bureau in Berlin investigated the case for the Gutmann family, who live in Germany, and concludes that the 15 porcelain gravy boats and plates were still registered as lost until yesterday. “We are expecting that the Gutmanns will request us to contact the Netherlands State and the Restitution Commission, so that the pieces can hopefully return to the family” says investigator Beate Schreiber. The items are part of a unique 435-piece Meissen dinnerware set depicting village scenes, which was given to Willem V around 1774 as a gift from the United East-Indian Company. The prince sold the set during exile in England. Later, 26 items were bought by Herbert Gutmann, son of banker Eugen Gutmann who set up the Dresdner Bank. When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, they saddled him with a sky high debt.

June 16, 2013

Amsterdam Diary: Visiting the newly opened Rijksmuseum is worth the stopover (and the day)

Inside the Rijksmuseum bike tunnel
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-chief

SUNDAY, Amsterdam - Saturday morning I avoided getting lost cycling through Amsterdam by using the Google maps I had printed out before I'd left home. I stopped by De Bakkerswinkel for thick buttered raisin bread and a latte for breakfast -- a crucial element as the newly renovated Rijksmuseum has only one cafe for food and drinks. A section inside is set aside for "picknicks" so visitors can bring in food and water (I never found any water fountains).

Crowd at Rembrandt's
 Night Watch extends all day
Visitors do have the option of leaving for outside venders and then re-entering the museum on the same ticket. I stopped for food and drink at about 1 p.m. after completing the 90-minute Multimedia Tour on the "Golden Age" of Dutch art (it took me twice the time since I looked at other works in passing). The line at the cafe was long, so I returned to the galleries for another audio tour that highlighted the collection. I spent another two hours looking at the art before returning to a less crowded cafe for a seat at a communal table and a recommended smoked mackerel tartare. The Rijksmuseum does accommodate long visits in the museum with plentiful sofas strategically placed in front of great art for relaxing views.

The crowd in front of the Vermeer paintings
The renovated Rijksmuseum offers improved lighting (large skylights augmented by lights by Phillips) and more room to display the collection. The crowds have increased in front of the four paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt's Night Watch, and three paintings by Van Gogh. A couple of years ago on a Sunday morning my family and I had found ourselves almost alone with these same paintings. However, the galleries are well ventilated and climate controlled and a visible force of smartly uniformed security guards manage the increased number of visitors. I did manage to sneak a few good photographs of the Vermeer paintings and Rembrandt's masterpiece in the last 15 minutes before the museum closed.

Jan Asselijn (1610-1652),
The Threatened Swan, 1650
The art is incredible. In Southern California we have numerous examples of Rembrandt's work from The Getty to the Timken Museum in San Diego, but the artist's work at the Rijksmuseum against other great Dutch work highlights his genius. It's worth the trip to Amsterdam to gain a greater understanding of why Rembrandt has endured -- even the few etchings displayed are impressive -- and influenced so many artists.

Biblioteek open to public
One of the benefits of the renovation is that lesser known works can again be displayed. For example, paintings by father and son Jozef and Isaac Israels can now be seen after years in storage. And the Gallery of Honour highlights paintings in the vast collection for easy viewing. For years my husband had remembered a painting from his last visit -- that of a large white swan with opened wings -- and I was able to show him the painting via Skype and the free Wi-Fi provided throughout the Rijksmuseum.

The multi-story library (biblioteek) is open to the public with available seating at tables for reading current art periodicals. 

The Multimedia tour is available for five euros at the Rijksmuseum or you can download it for free on your smartphone.

A distinguished gentleman and Rembrandt's Night Watch before closing.

April 13, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013 - , No comments

Rijksmuseum Reopens Today after $480 ten year renovation

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Photo: Telegraph)
Queen Beatrix reopened the Rijksmuseum today amidst fireworks and a queque of people waiting to enter the museum for free after a ten year $480 million renovation designed by Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz:
The museum covers 800 years of Dutch history through 8,000 objects, distributed through 80 rooms. A one mile (1.5-kilometre) walk around the galleries will take you "from the Middle Ages to Mondrian," the Dutch painter and one of the pioneers of the De Stijl movement in the first half of the 20th century.
But at the heart of the museum's physical and artistic identity is Rembrandt's vast masterpiece of militia intimidation, The Night WatchThe painting, flanked by works by the likes of Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals, symbolises the Golden Age, roughly spanning the 17th century, when the Dutch dominated much of world trade and, as a result, art.
The renovation Rijksmuseum is also known for a special feature -- the nearby bike path leading out of Vogel Park continues through a tunnel running through the middle of the museum:
The museum didn't want the tunnel used as a bike path because of its proximity to the entrance, but the city authorities decided to let the bikes through and monitor the situation.
The Telegraph published a guide on how to get around the renovated Rijksmuseum.