Tuesday 05 July 2022

‘Sotheby’s London sold stolen Dutch art despite warnings’

Auction house Sotheby’s in London sold a work of art by Dutch artist JJ Schoonhoven this spring, despite being warned it was stolen, the NRC reports on Tuesday.

The work, a papermache relief, was one of several pieces of art stolen from the Bommel van Dam museum in Venlo in March.

The NRC says the sale went ahead even though the Art Loss Register, a data bank of stolen works, had warned Sotheby’s about their suspicions. Sotheby’s has declined to comment on the claims because of the ongoing police investigation.

Name

The work, which dates from 1969, was sold for almost €214,000. It was sold under a different name and had been turned 90 degrees in the auction catalogue.

The sale came to light last week when someone, described by the NRC as a fence, reported to the police in Amsterdam with two other stolen Schoonhovens and admitted selling one through Sotheby’s.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s had also been to the police after the buyers became suspicious about their new purchase’s provenance.

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