Investigation into the provenance of museum collections in connection with the theft, confiscation and sale of objects under duress between 1933 and 1945.

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UvA Heritage / Special Collections

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UvA Heritage / Special Collections

Oude Turfmarkt 129 1012 GC Amsterdam

Investigation results

This museum has 1 object with a potentially problematic provenance.

Result of this investigation

University of Amsterdam’s Heritage and Special Collections have  finished the general investigation of the former University Museum and Theatre Institute. Further investigation was done for certain aspects of the history of Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, a collection of Jewish literature given to the UB in 1880, linked to related collections in the Netherlands.This research concerns only the provenances of books. An investigation of the provenance of printed books may be complex since books are printed in relatively large numbers and an edition is not a unique item. The books are not part of an museum collection and therefore are not the scope of this project. 

The investigation of the University Museum and the Theatre Institute focused on the years 1933-1954. Records of acquisitions were consulted for the provenance investigation for the years 1933-1954, as well as correspondence to elucidate brief references in the records, annual reports (focusing on Jewish names) and memos from (retired) staff members, especially librarians. With regard to normal purchases, considerable material was bought at G.Th. Bom on Amsterdam’s Warmoesstraat, a business where property taken from Jews was auctioned during the war. Items acquired by Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana after 1946 are especially suspect. Many books listed in the records as ‘old collection’ are of unknown or unclear provenance.

The Theatre Institute collection contains a work with problematic provenance. This is a painting which formed part of the collection of J. Goudstikker. In October 1940, the work was sold on the orders of Alois Miedl, who had taken over the gallery that year, at Frederik Muller & Co auction house in Amsterdam:

  • Martin Monnickendam, Theatre Box, 1912

Information from previous research (report Museum Acquisitions 1940-1948)

View reaction of UvA Erfgoed / Bijzondere Collecties in the report Museale acquisitions 1940-1948 which was published in 1999 in response to the previous museum research.

About this museum and its collection

Special Collections is the University of Amsterdam’s cultural treasure house. It has around 1,500 separate collections many of which were acquired or bequeathed without any documentation. This includes the large library and the collection of the former University Museum. The Theatre Institute has lent its collection to Special Collections.


Theatre Box

Theatre Box

Artist/ Creator
Martin Monnickendam
Theatre Box
Oil on canvas
200 x 163 cm
TIN 105/ SKRA nr. 2195
UvA Heritage / Special Collections

Investigation results


This painting was part of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker’s prewar collection.


This painting was part of Jewish art...

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