The Hague city council is to begin raising money to buy half a Jan Steen painting owned by an American heiress, Trouw reports on Tuesday.
The Wedding Night of Tobias and Sarah was cut into two at some point in the 19th century and each half went its separate way. One half is currently owned by the council, the other by the daughter-in-law of Jewish collector Jacques Goudstikker.
Goudstikker’s collection was confiscated by the Nazis during World War II and later ended up in the Dutch national art collection. The other half had been left to the Hague in its owner’s will.
In 1996, the two halves were reunited and repaired and put on show at the Bredius museum in the Hague.
But in 2006, Goudstikker’s heiress won the right to claim back 202 works of art from the Dutch state, including half the Jan Steen painting.
The city council had been planning to sell her its half, but a court last week rejected the plan because the painting had been willed to the city.
Now the council wants to raise €1.8m to buy out the heiress. However, as Trouw points out, it is not known if she actually wants to sell.
For more on the painting’s story, click here