Rijksmuseum’s Collection Includes Nazi-Looted Porcelain

The Meissen dinnerware belonged to a Jewish couple.

One of the porcelain pieces stolen by Nazis that is now in a Dutch museum. Photo courtesy of the the Ekkart Committee.

Fifteen valuable porcelain dinnerware items in the collections of the Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, and three other Dutch museums are now thought to have been stolen by the Nazis from a Jewish family, reports the NL Times.

The group of plates and gravy boats were part of a 445-piece Meissen dinnerware set produced circa 1774 for Willem V, Prince of Orange as a gift from the United East-Indian Company. Each piece depicts scenes of village life.

Willem was later exiled to England, and sold the set. Hebert Gutmann, the son of Eugen Gutmann, a German banker, later purchased 26 of the dishes, but was coerced to auction them off under Nazi rule in 1934.

In 1999, the Netherlands appointed the Ekkart Committee to conduct provenance research on artwork in the country’s art collections to identify cases in which restitution of looted artworks was in order, but the porcelain’s origins remained undetected.

The Gutmann family was able to track down the porcelain, lost for 80 years, through the assistance of Amsterdam investigation bureau Artiaz and the Facts and Files bureau in Berlin. Investigators expect that the Gutmanns will soon be in touch with the Netherlands State and the Restitution Commission and that the porcelain’s return will hopefully be arranged.

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