The heirs of art collector are suing the City Museum of Amsterdam for the possession of a Kandinsky painting
ARTinvestment.RU   15 января 2020

The picture today is the object of restitution claims, was acquired by the Museum at auction in 1940

in the Work "Painting with houses", written by Kandinsky in 1909, can still be seen in the halls of the Stedelijk Museum, the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam, where she has been for the past 80 years.

However, soon the situation may change: Tuesday, January 14, the family's lawyer Loewenstein, the heirs of the collector, until 1940 who owned the painting, presented to the Amsterdam court the documents that must prove that they have the right of ownership of the work.

This is not the first trial involving identification of the owner of this work. In 2013-м and 2018-м state restitution Committee of the Netherlands has examined the question of the right of the Museum to have that painting, but the heirs of the Levenshtein was refused.

it is Known that Emanuel Loewenstein (1870-1937), Director of the eponymous plant for the production of sewing machines in Amsterdam, bought the painting in his collection in 1920-х years. Later, in October 1940, this painting was sold at auction by Frederik Muller & Co in Amsterdam. According to the Committee for restitution and sellers work at that time was Robert Lowenstein, son and heir of the collector, and his wife Irma Klein. It is at these auctions, the Stedelijk Museum and purchased a painting for 160 guilders. The lawyer of the heirs of the Levenshtein claims that this price is "only a small part of the original cost, which amounted to at least 2000-3000 guilders".

According to the Committee, there is nothing illegal in such a sale was not, as it is, "likely was caused by the deterioration of the financial situation in which Loewenstein and his wife were after the German attack".

However, the lawyer of the heirs of Axel Hagedorn disagree with this point of view. He insists that before the auction, Robert Loewenstein and his family fled to France. "He's already left the Netherlands, and financial transactions in that time was impossible," — says Hagedorn.

According to Hagedorn, there was no question of voluntary sale. A "voluntary sale of works of art (...) for Jews in 1940 could be called strange. The Jewish family who voluntarily sells his work during the occupation, — nonsense. Neither Jewish art-дилер didn't do it. It is a real theft", — the lawyer says. His words he confirmed by documents, including the audit report, which shows that the company Lewenstein NV was in a deplorable financial situation in 1939 and 1940. Accordingly, urgent need to sell the painting for such a small part of its present price at the Loewenstein family was not.

According to Hagedorn and the canadian representative of the families of Loewenstein, James Palmer, the previous decision of the restitution Committee in favor of the Museum can be due to the fact that four of the seven members of the Committee collaborate with the Museum. They are members of the business-клуба Museum, work in the office, which sponsors the Museum, or helped with the exhibitions in the Museum. Therefore, their conclusions about the work of Kandinsky can be "not impartial".

it is Expected that the case will be considered in the court of Amsterdam in the course of this year. In the meantime, the Stedelijk Museum and the municipality of Amsterdam announced that they would wait for the court decision. "With regard to claims for restitution, the municipality adheres to binding decisions of the restitution Committee. They say that the municipality is not obliged to return the painting to the claimants", — reported in their joint response.


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