The auction trade is a fast paced business. From admission to final sale, there are usually only a few weeks. Nevertheless, absolute professionalism and extensive research remain top priorities. The artwork's origin in particular must be examined properly. We repeatedly see works of art whose provenance remained unknown during the period of the Third Reich.
During the Nazi regime, many Jewish art lovers and dealers were expropriated; their art confiscated or stolen directly by the Nazis. Entire collections were torn apart. Today, it is often difficult to determine where these objects have ended up or if they even still exist. In recent years the public has focused its attention on VAN HAM, due to their success in initiating the restitution and compensation for looted art- cultural objects- during the Nazi era and returning these to their rightful Jewish owners.
As soon as a work of art indicates signs of a problematic or questionable nature, VAN HAM begins their extensive research in conjunction with other well-known institutions such as; the Art Loss Register in London, the Lost Type Co-ordination Unit in Magdeburg and the Holocaust Claims Processing Office in New York, where lost, stolen or missing art has been documented.
In 2013 and 2014, several exceptional works of art believed to been 'lost' were successfully restituted, including paintings from the legendary collection of Ismar Littmann, the Amsterdam's famous art dealer, Jacques Goudstikker, Max Stern, Emma Budge or Nardus.
"This has not been the first time that the auctioneer from Cologne demonstrated his sensitivty in restitution matters."
-Handelblatt, May 18th, 2014
"Sharing with dignity"
-Spiegel, May 18th, 2009
"In the negotiations ... VAN HAM assumed the central role of intermediary. Never before have we received such a strong commitment from the German art market, when it comes to stolen art."
-Clarence Epstein, Concordia University
"Concerning Eisenbeis' impeccable approach ... not only his auction house will have to be measured in future cases."
-Süddeutsche Zeitung, February 14th, 2009