Art News, Artists, Music and more!

Dutch Museum Repatriates Kandinsky Work To Jewish Collector’s Heirs

The Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands is returning a Wassily Kandinsky painting to the heirs of its Jewish collector.

The painting, titled View of Murnau with Church, was created by Wassily Kandinsky in 1910. Though not clear when she acquired it, the painting was in the possession of Johanna Margarethe Stern-Lippmann, a prominent Berlin-based Jewish art collector. During the height of Nazi prosecution, Stern-Lippmann was murdered in Auschwitz, while most of her possessions – including the Kandinsky work – were seized. The painting was sold to the Eindhoven-based Van Abbemuseum in 1951 by art dealer Karl Alexander Legat. It must be noted that Legat has been linked to many other works acquired during the Holocaust.

Image of the Stern-Lippman household. The Kandinsky painting could be seen.

The family of Stern-Lippmann and the museum have been in a legal battle over the painting since 2016. After first rejecting the claims in 2018, the museum committee has now agreed on the return of the painting to the heirs. The committee justified its changed decision based on “new facts” that had appeared in the last 3 years. It should be mentioned that any artifact being lost during World War II is considered ‘involuntary’ under Dutch law. The exact worth of the painting is not revealed, though a similar work by Kandinsky was recently sold for $22 million.

Also Read: Dimitrios Pandermalis, Acropolis Museum President, Dies At 82

Johanna Margarethe Stern-Lippmann was one of the most prominent victims of the Nazi prosecution. Since her death, her family has been trying to regain much of her property and collection that was seized by the Nazis. These include a Henri Fantin-Latour painting in 1949 and the restoration of Villa Stern in 1989. In 2020, the French government restored 7 paintings to Stern-Lippmann’s family.