Private collectors hit by Nazi art claims

Dutch News 4 July 2008

Private art collectors are increasingly being targeted by people claiming art was stolen from their families during World War II, the NRC reports on Friday.

Most of them bought the art in good faith, the paper says, but are being put under increasing pressure to hand back the work or reach a deal with the claimants. For once a work has been branded as 'stolen', no auction house or gallery will touch it, the paper says.

The flood of claims follows new rules on claiming back property taken by the Nazis and now in the hands of institutions.

But the descendants of Jewish collector Jacques Goudstikker, who won 202 works of art back from the Dutch state last year, are now targeting private individuals, the paper says. And they are not alone.

Art historian Rudi Ekkart, who helped draw up the new rules, tells the paper it is 'alarming' that not only paintings which were seized by the Nazis but art that was sold through regular channels is also being claimed.
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