Painting not part of Nazi booty

Irish Times 23 March 2011
By Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

AN OLD Master purchased by Belfast’s Ulster Museum for just £9,000 45 years ago is not part of a stolen Nazi art collection as was feared.

Authorities at Belfast’s leading museum thought that St Christopher Carrying The Christ Child by 17th century Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens may have been part of an art haul held by Hermann Goering following the occupation of the Netherlands in 1940.

Their concerns arose when it emerged there was a reference to the work in notes by Jacques Goudstikker, a Jewish collector in Holland at the time.

He lost his life escaping from the Nazis following the occupation and his collection was returned to his heirs five years ago.

However, a noted art historian, called in by the Ulster Museum to establish the history of the work, has reported that while it did indeed belong to Mr Goudstikker it was not among the paintings taken by Goering.

Tom van der Molen said evidence he uncovered in the Amsterdam archives pointed to the fact that the work was owned by Mr Goudstikker’s widow, Desi von Saher, who sold it in 1965.

Mr van der Molen told BBC Northern Ireland: “The sale from von Saher is unproblematic and occurred in a friendly atmosphere. Subsequent sales are also unproblematic.”
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