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Dutch museums have a second review of the provenance of their art works

The Dutch Museum Association previously announced, back in 2009, a second review of the provenance of artworks located in Dutch galleries and museums. Following a multi-year review period, the association has determined that as many as 139 pieces of art present may have been taken from Jewish owners before or during the Second World War.

The search which spanned four years examined all artwork within the Netherlands art museums and galleries from over four hundred institutions. All works that were acquired from 1933 to the present day came under the spotlight in order to determine how the pieces came into the possession of the current owner and their ownership history back to the time of their creation.

This is the second such intensive search of its kind. The first was conducted a decade before which resulted in a number of pieces being returned to their rightful owners or their descendents. This included an extensive collection of over 200 pieces returned to the daughter-in-law of a Jewish art collector, just one of which was valued at over £8 million pounds.

This search has already turned up important pieces like one by Matisse, Kandinsky, and several other artworks by celebrated Dutch painters and artists including impressionists. So far, twenty owners have been identified for up to 61 pieces that are known to have been stolen during wartime.

In order to assist with locating the correct owners of remainder of the 139 pieces of art identified in the latest review, a web site has been set-up by the Dutch authorities which went live on October 29.

From this web site, people that believe that they may have a valid claim on one or more pieces of artwork displayed may place an appropriate claim through the web site. Efforts by the Dutch are likely to continue for years to come to make a concerted effort to place looted art back into the hands of the rightful owners.

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