Acquisitions since 1933

Herkomstonderzoek 1109

As part of the Museum Acquisitions project undertaken by the Netherlands Museums Association, the Mauritshuis has examined the provenance of all acquisitions since 1933—more than two hundred items.

This first inventory was completed in 2013 and a shortlist of objects with a potentially problematic provenance was compiled. One example is Portrait of a Woman by Pieter Pietersz, which the Mauritshuis acquired in 1996. The portrait proved to have been recovered from Germany in 1946; a previously unknown fact. It was sold by the SNK at an auction in 1952 and ended up in the Amsterdam art trade. It has not yet been possible to determine who had owned the portrait during the war and whether they had parted with it involuntarily.

This did prove to be the case with Deer Hunt in a Forest by Jan Hackaert, which the Mauritshuis purchased from the Nijstad gallery in The Hague in 1971. The painting came from the collection of the Berlin-born banker and collector Fritz Gutmann (1886-1944), who was deported and murdered by the Nazis because of his Jewish origins. The painting had found its way to a German museum by way of the German art trade in 1942 and was sent back to the Netherlands after the war as part of the NK Collection. As it was unclear what happened to it after that, the Mauritshuis contacted Gutmann’s grandson Simon Goodman in December 2012. He informed the museum that the Hackaert had been returned to the heirs in 1954. The family sold the painting shortly after that and it ended up in the art trade.