Rijks museum may lose top painting

The Rijks museum in Amsterdam is in danger of losing one of its best acquisitions in recent years – a 17th century painting of the Herengracht canal by Geerit Adriaensz Berckheyde, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

American bank JPMorgan Chase has put in a claim for the painting, saying it is the rightful owner. Rijks museum director Taco Dibbits has confirmed the claim and is investigating, the paper says.
The museum bought the painting from Dutch multimillionaire Louis Reijtenbagh in 2008 with the help of the national art fund and lottery money. The price has not been revealed.
But, the Volkskrant says, Reijtenbagh, who is in serious financial trouble, apparently also used the painting as security on a loan.
The bank is claiming Reijtenbagh’s entire art collection following his default on the €33m loan. Many of the works cannot be traced, but the disputed painting is on show at the National Gallery in Washington until May 3.

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