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German Manufacturer Returns van Dyck Painting to Jewish Heirs

An Anthony van Dyck painting once acquired by the Nazi official Hermann Göring will be returned to the heirs of its original owner by the German food manufacturer Dr. Oetker, writes Catherine Hickley in the Art Newspaper. The van Dyck work, Portrait of Adriaen Hendriksz Moens, will be given to the heir of Jacques Goudstikker, a Jewish art dealer who fled the Netherlands in 1940 when the Nazis invaded. The painting was in Goudstikker’s gallery inventory when he and his family fled, and the work was eventually acquired by Göring, the Gestapo’s founder and commander of the Luftwaffe. After the war, it was returned to the Dutch government, which sold it to a London-based dealer of old masters. In 1956, the painting was bought by Rudolf August Oetker in London. He was the owner and chief executive of Dr. Oetker, and died in 2007.

Marei von Saher, the widow of Goudstikker’s son and the dealer’s sole heir, said, “It is heartening to see private collections like the Oetker collection do the right thing for victims of the Nazis and their families…I hope that the restitution of this artwork will lead other private collections to act just as responsibly.”

The company had announced last October that they intended to seek out the heirs for works in their corporate collection which they had reason to believe were looted by Nazis from Jewish owners. A Hans Thoma painting was recently restituted to the family of Jewish collector Hedwig Ullmann, who was forced to sell the painting before fleeing from the Nazis in 1938. In addition to these two works already returned, the company has identified two more candidates for restitution.