Acquired in 1708 for the princes’ collections in Saxony (under Augustus II the Strong), inventory number A701 in the inaugural catalogue for the gallery in 1722 (1902 catalogue: n° 886) , the Landscape with Windmills by Jan Brueghel the Elder (ill. 1), had remained on display at the Dresden museum until 1945 and was then considered lost.
In July 2001, it reappeared in Antwerp, the city where it had been painted, and was seized by the police from a Ukrainian agent who was trying to sell it in the United States. The Kunstsammlungen Staatlichen in Dresden immediately filed its claim as legitimate owner in order to recover the work with legal advice from its lawyers and staunch support from the Belgian government. Finally, last 4 December, after appeal, the Appellate Court of Antwerp confirmed ownership and refused to grant the plaintiff any financial compensation. This judgement applies without delay and nothing stands in the way of the painting’s return to Germany before being handed over to the general director of the art collections of the State of Saxony, Dr. Martin Roth.
We take this opportunity to point out how difficult it is for private individuals or art professionals to consult internet websites for stolen art goods. Currently, sites for national police and Interpol do not disclose their information, and private data bases charge payment (The art loss register offers monthly subscriptions) and require users to fill out a form so thorough it resembles a police interrogation concerning both the identity of the person requesting the information and the object in question. Some even ask that the applicant submit himself to American law, whatever his nationality. Under these conditions, it is hard not to feel “presumably guilty”...
 Klaus Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568-1625) Die Gemälde mit kritischem Oeuvrekatalog, Dumont Buchverlag Köln, Cologne 1979, page 597, n° 237.
 Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678) was the son of Jan Brueghel the Elder (also known as ‘Velvet’ Brueghel, 1568-1625), the nephew of Pieter Brueghel the Younger, and the grandson of Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569), the painter of peasant scenes.
 Klaus Ertz, Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678) the paintings with oeuvre catalogue, Flemish painters in the circle of the great masters volume 1, Luca Verlag Freren, 1984, p. 256, n° 77.