Amsterdam returns Kandinsky painting to heirs of former Jewish owners

On Monday, the municipality of Amsterdam returned the painting Bild mit Häusern by Wassily Kandinsky to the Lewenstein family – the heirs of the Jewish people who owned the painting until it was taken from them during World War II. Until today, the painting hung in the Stedelijk Museum.

The heirs of the former owners demanded the return of Bild mit Häusern in 2013. They and Amsterdam submitted the case to the restitution committee. In 2018, the Committee ruled that the municipality was not obligated to return the painting. The heirs appealed the decision. In 2020, the Kohnstamm committee recommended that the restitution assessment framework be reassessed.

In February last year, the municipality of Amsterdam again met with the heir. Both parties found it plausible that the restitution committee would recommend returning the painting to the heirs based on the new valuation framework. So they decided not to resubmit the request and instead settled the matter between themselves. Amsterdam agreed to return the painting to the heirs.

“As a city, we bear a great responsibility in dealing with the untold suffering and injustice inflicted on the Jewish population during World War II. To the extent that anything can be restored, we as a society have the moral duty to act accordingly,” said Deputy Mayor Touria Meliani, Alderman for Arts and Culture. were looted by the Nazis or otherwise lost to the owners.”

James Palmer of Mondex Corporation, representing the Lewenstein family, is pleased with the result. “The Netherlands can be proud that the new restitution guidelines from its Kohnstamm committee have established a viable and exemplary framework for finding fair and equitable solutions for claimants and can serve as an example to which other countries can aspire.”

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