Restitution Claim for Courtauld Rubens Panels Rejected

Thursday, March 21, 2024
Restitution Claim for Courtauld Rubens Panels Rejected

The Spoliation Advisory Panel considered 3 claims for 3 works by Sir Peter Paul Rubens: St Gregory the Great with Ss Maurus and Papianus and St. Domitilla with Ss Nereus and Achilleus, The Conversion of St. Paul, and The Bounty of James 1 Triumphing Over Avarice, for the ceiling in the Banqueting House, Whitehall.

The 3 paintings were part of a collection of drawings and paintings accumulated by Franz Wilhelm Koenigs (Koenigs), and were given by him as security for a loan from a Dutch Bank, N.V. Bankierskantoor Lisser & Rosenkranz (the Bank) in 1935. The paintings were sold when the majority Jewish-owned Bank went into voluntary liquidation in 1940 in expectation of the imminent Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.

The claimants were Ms Christine Koenigs, the granddaughter of Franz W. Koenigs on behalf of herself and 7 out of 13 of the heirs of Franz Koenigs (in his capacity as a minority shareholder in the Bank) and Mr. Gal Flörsheim as sole heir of Salomon Jakob Flörsheim who was one of the Bank’s main shareholders. Mr Flörsheim also claimed in his capacity as a very recently appointed liquidator of the Bank together with his co-liquidator, Mr Dolev.

The Panel concluded that the claimants had neither a legal nor a moral claim to the 3 paintings and that the works should continue to be enjoyed in a public museum in line with the wishes of Franz Koenigs.

The Spoliation Advisory Panel was designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to consider the claim.  The Panel was established in 2000 by government to consider claims for the return of cultural objects lost during the Nazi-era (1933-1945).

Main Image :The Conversion of St. Paul, photo © The Courtauld

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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