ARTnews: Amsterdam Mayor In Talks Over Contested Kandinsky


August 27, 2021 8:34am

THERE IS A NEW CHAPTER IN A CHARGED CASE. The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, has entered into talks about returning a Wassily Kandinsky to the heirs of a Jewish couple who sold it in 1940, the New York Times reports. It is currently housed at the city’s Stedelijk Museum. The fate of the painting has been watched as an indicator of the status of Nazi-era restitution claims in the Netherlands. In 2018, a government commission that said the Stedelijk could keep the work; late last year, a court affirmed that ruling. The couple sold the work after the Nazis invaded the country, but the commission found that “deteriorating financial circumstances” prior to that played a role in the sale. Last December, a government panel called for a “more empathic” approach to cases from the era. Until about a decade ago, the Times notes, the Netherlands “was seen as being at the forefront of efforts to return stolen works to the heirs of their rightful owners.” The city council will be asked to approve any agreement.