A Dutch museum has returned a 1910 painting by Wassily Kandinsky to the heirs of a captured Jewish family during World War II. The decision ends a years-long legal dispute over the painting, which has been in the collection of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven since 1951.
the drawing, View of Murnau with the churchfrom the city-owned museum to relatives of Berlin-based collector Johanna Margaret Stern Liebmann, who was active as a pre-war modern art collector.
The move to finally reinstate the business comes several years after a Dutch compensation commission overturned its January 2018 decision not to return the business to Stern Lippmann’s heirs based on “insufficient facts” about the period in which tenure of the business was lost.
The museum acquired the work from The Hague art dealer Karl-Alexander Legat, who was linked to sales of paintings confiscated during World War II.
The descendants of the collector first filed a claim to take back the work from the Dutch Museum in 2016. The family filed a second claim for the work in 2019 after the commission’s initial rejection.
The seven-member panel issued a new opinion this week on the disputed work, saying in a statement that the “binding” return to work for the family was reached amid “new facts” that have emerged since the 2018 decision.
The commission said that since Stern Liebmann was persecuted during World War II, losing a job during the war period is considered involuntary under the Dutch government’s guidelines on Nazi-era reparations.
No monetary value of the work has been disclosed. Works from a similar period by Kandinsky, such as drawing with houses (1909), which was returned from the Stedelijk Museum in August 2021, is valued at approximately $22 million.
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