Nazi-looted art collection fetches 1.2 million euros in Amsterdam

AFP 14 November 2007

THE HAGUE — The last part of a collection of art once owned by a Jewish collector but looted by the Nazis, brought in 1.2 million euros (1.8 million dollars) Wednesday, said Christie's auction house.

"It's more than we expected," said Christie's spokesman Maarten van Gijn of the sales from the collection of Jacques Goudstikker.

The auction room was packed with buyers from more than 10 countries, including Russia and the United Arab Emirates, the spokesman said.

Goudstikker was a well known art dealer who died in an accident while fleeing the Nazis in 1940. At the time he owned 1,100 art works, listed in a notebook that he carried with him.

But during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, his collection was looted.

After World War II, nearly 300 works were brought back to the Netherlands and handed over to the state.

In 1952, over the objections of Goudstikker's widow, the government distributed part of the collection to museums in the Netherlands and sold the rest.

In 2005, after a long legal battle, Goudstikker's daughter-in-law Marei von Saher reclaimed 202 works from the Dutch state in 2005, with an estimated price of between 30 and 40 million euros. Some of those were sold.

The Netherlands immediately repurchased four of the works for three million euros, while von Saher donated one to the Netherlands. They have been returned to the museums where they had been previously located.

Wednesday's auction was the last from his collection and had been organised by von Saher and her daughter Charlene.

The collection has brought in a total of 12.4 million euros through sales in New York, London and Amsterdam.
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