CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Copies Available of Study by Netherlands Ambassador to Sweden, A.F. Van Dongen, Concerning Portrait of Johan Maurits Van Nassau

The Netherlands ambassador to Sweden, A.F. van Dongen, has performed extensive research on a portrait of Johan Maurits van Nassau that was donated to his embassy in 1939. The resulting publication, on a CD-ROM, is available at no charge to the first comers. Below is his statement on the project.


… He had no business being in Sweden. He belonged even less in the family he was in. How did he get there, and how long ago? Where had he come from? Germany? Austria? Why was he made to leave in a rush? Why the hush? Did he have a wartime past? If so, which war? Who else might know about him? …


Provenance, tracing a portrait ’


These are some of the key questions in an unconventional provenance search, recently presented by the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm. It concerns a portrait in the hallway of the residence. Originally, the search had been set in motion by CODART members visiting the residence during the CODART ACHT study trip, in September 2005 (see News 20 December 2005). The ambassador was unaware at the time of the identity of the sitter as well as the author of the painting, and had no current information on the portrait’s origin. Spurred on by new information provided by our members, he undertook a campaign of research which was to cover a period of almost two years.


His account of the campaign reads like a ‘history mystery without a corpse’. In the course of it, he learned something ‘about fine art, the Nassau dynasty, two World Wars and the Imperial Austrian railway system’. Covering over a 100 pages of text and notes, it is, unusually, set in the first person singular. Some twenty five illustrations underscore the narrative. More strikingly, the account as a whole is presented on a CD-ROM.


CODART is pleased to congratulate Ambassador van Dongen with this impressive accomplishment. Thanks to the generosity of his embassy, we are able to offer a limited number of complimentary copies of his CD-ROM on a first come, first served basis. Contact Navany Almazan for a copy. The CD-ROM is also available for consultation at the Netherland s Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague.