The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles agreed to return a 17th-century Dutch painting to the heir of a Jewish art dealer who was forced to flee the Netherlands when the Nazis invaded.
Jacques Goudstikker left about 1,400 artworks in his gallery when he escaped Amsterdam in 1940 on a cargo boat with his wife and baby son. He died during the crossing. His gallery was looted by Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering weeks later. In 2006 the Dutch government returned 202 works from the national collection to Goudstikker’s sole heir, Marei von Saher.
The Getty’s return of “Landscape With Cottage and Figures” by the Dutch artist Pieter Molijn is the first restitution to von Saher by a U.S. museum, according to a statement sent by e-mail late yesterday by her New York-based lawyers, Herrick, Feinstein LLP.
“It is always encouraging to see an important cultural institution like the Getty Museum decide to do the right thing for Holocaust victims and their heirs,” von Saher was quoted as saying in the statement. The J. Paul Getty Museum’s press department didn’t immediately respond to a phone call or an e-mailed request for comment after office hours.
Paintings that Dutch museums returned to von Saher, who is the widow of Goudstikker’s son, include works by Salomon van Ruysdael, Filippo Lippi and Jan Steen. She also has recovered more than 30 artworks from museums in other countries, including Germany and Israel, her lawyers said.
Von Saher is embroiled in a court battle with the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, over her claim for two Lucas Cranach the Elder masterpieces, “Adam” and “Eve,” the attorneys said in the statement.