A van Dyck painting seized by Herman Goering will be returned to its rightful owner
Dr Oetker will return the portrait of Adriaen Moens by Anthony van Dyck to the heirs of the Jewish art dealer Goering took it from, forcing him to sell it for a fraction of its worth.
The family owned German manufacturer of pizzas, cake mixes and other products said it was happy to return the painting by the Flemish master to the heir of art dealer Jacques Goudstikker.
Mr Goudstikker lived in Amsterdam when he was forced by the Germans in 1940 to sell them the painting, among many other artworks confiscated by the Third Reich.
When Mr Goudstikker fled Amsterdam, he was forced to sell the painting to Reichsmarschall Goering for a dirt cheap price.
Food company Dr Oetker will give it back to the heirs of the man who Goering took it from
Goering, who was head of Luftwaffe during the Second World War, was known for his love of the arts
The former First World War pilot was known for his love of the arts and amassed a huge personal collection, often blatantly stealing priceless masterpieces from Jews and museums in conquered nations.
Between the two World Wars, Jacques Goudstikker was probably the most important Dutch dealer of Old Master paintings
Peter C. Sutton
Mr Goudstikker died in the English Channel on board a steamer to Britain, breaking his neck when he fell over in the boat's hold.
Peter C. Sutton, the executive director and CEO of the Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, said: "Between the two World Wars, Jacques Goudstikker was probably the most important Dutch dealer of Old Master paintings."
After the war Mr Goudstikker’s collection came into the hands of the Dutch government, who sold the van Dyck painting to an art dealer in London. It was there that Rudolf August Oetker bought the painting in 1956.
Mr Oetker was one of the founders of the Dr Oetker food company, which became an international giant after the war. He died in 2007.
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Last year, Dr Oetker said that it would review the entire art collection owned by the company, a process expected to last well into 2017.
After concluding part of its research, Dr Oetker said the painting from 1628 was acquired from Mr Goudstikker in "doubtful ways".
Marei von Saher, the widow of Mr Goudstikker’s son and the dealer’s sole heir, was delighted to see the painting returned.
The original owner Jacques Goudstikker was a Dutch dealer of Old Master paintings
She said: "It is heartening to see private collections like the Oetker collection do the right thing for victims of the Nazis and their families. I hope that the restitution of this artwork will lead other private collections to act just as responsibly."
The van Dyck painting follows the return of Springtime in the Mountains by Hans Thoma, another work in the Dr Oetker collection.
The work is said to have come into Nazi hands after a forced sale in Frankfurt in 1938.