Reclaimed commemorates a remarkable story of post-Holocaust restitution and the extraordinary life and legacy of Jacques Goudstikker (1897–1940), a preeminent art dealer in Amsterdam. Goudstikker’s vast collection of Old Master paintings was almost lost forever to the Nazi practice of looting cultural properties. Explore the richness of this collection while learning about the plundering of the works and the efforts by Goudstikker’s family that led to the successful recovery of over 200 of the looted works.
Between the two World Wars, Goudstikker’s impressive and historically important collection—comprising primarily works by Dutch Old Masters along with other Northern European and Italian paintings—rose to international acclaim. Prominent members of society, Jacques Goudstikker and his wife Dési entertained lavishly in their villa outside Amsterdam and at their castle in the countryside. But, this luxurious and exuberant life would soon be a lost moment in time. Because he was Jewish, Goudstikker was forced to flee the Netherlands with his family in May 1940, immediately after the Nazi invasion. Jacques died in a tragic accident while escaping. He left behind in his gallery approximately 1,400 works of art, the bulk of which were looted by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. After the war, part of Goudstikker’s collection was found by the Allies in Germany and returned to the Netherlands to be restituted to the rightful owner. However, despite Dési’s efforts, these paintings were not returned to her. Most were held in the custody of the Dutch government and incorporated into the national collection.
In February 2006, Goudstikker’s family successfully reclaimed 200 artworks from the Dutch government in one of the largest restitutions of Nazi-looted art. This exhibition presents a selection of the returned masterpieces alongside photographs and documents relating to Goudstikker’s life, providing an intimate perspective on historic events.