Exhibition Looted Art – before, during and after WW II

After the Second World War the U.S. Army sent a large number of looted and acquired artworks to the Netherlands, which they had retrieved in Germany. They recuperated the works, stating that they should be returned to their original owners. Only a limited number of works, however, were actually given back to their rightful owners. The remaining works are held in a separate state collection known as Nederlands Kunstbezit (Dutch Art Collection). Works from this collection are the basis of this exhibition.

A number of these works have not been exhibited since shortly after the war. The provenance of some of the works in the exhibit is as of today unknown. The cold attitude of the Dutch State towards those who came to claim their property after the war is one of the focal points. Famous examples are those of the art dealer Goudstikker and the collector Gutmann, whose heirs were finally vindicated after more than sixty years.

The Terborch Foundation is a new private initiative by Daaf Ledeboer and Eva Kleeman, art historians with a museum background. Six years ago they decided they would like the general public to see hidden treasures from the state vaults. They organized an exhibition space in Deventer, where they live. The 12th century Bergkerk church has been restored and adapted especially to this purpose.

Curator of the exhibit is prof. dr. Rudi Ekkart, who has since 1997 been chairman of the Commissie Herkomst Gezocht. This commission is entrusted with the task of linking artworks in the Dutch Art Collection to their rightful owners, or their heirs. It was instrumental to the birth of a new, more generous restitution policy according to the Washington Principles. Assistant curator is historian Eelke Muller. The exhibition was designed by Studio Koster Van Lienen.

Made possible through grants from: