Emma Budge Collection

VAN HAM Restitutions

Due to its experience concerning restitutions the auction house Van Ham was able to sort out the ownership of a painting by Benjamin Vautiers of the former collection of Emma Budges shortly before the "Fine Arts" auction on May 16th, 2014. There were only a few days left until the auctioning when Van Ham received a message from the London Art Loss Register saying that the painting "Spaziergang im Walde" ("Walk in the Forrest") by the painter Benjamin Vautier is originally part of the property of Emma Budges, a German-American whose art collection is one of the most known and far-reaching cases of lost cultural property in Germany.

In 1852 Emma Budge, nee Lazarus, was born in Hamburg as daughter of the merchant Ludwig Lazarus. After emigrating to the USA with her husband Henry Budge, the wealthy couple returned to Hamburg in 1903. The so called Budge-Palais at the Alster, in which Emma Budge gathered up an important art collection, became the center of the social and cultural life. The collection consisted particularly of handcrafted objects as well as paintings and sculptures. In 1937, shortly after Emma Budge's death, her collection was sold at auction by the Nazis in the Berlin auction house Paul Graupe. It was the greatest private collection sold at auction during the Nazi regime.

After Markus Eisenbeis, Managing Director of Van Ham, received the information from the London Art Loss Register he acted as a mediator between the consigners and Emma Budge's community of heirs in order to reach a fast and uncomplicated agreement on possible restitution claims. The community of heirs did not make any claims on the work so that the painting could be sold at auction as planned. It came up to a result of about 20,000 Euros.

Benjamin Vautier (1829-1898), Walk in the Forrest, Oil on canvas, 82 x 60 cm, Signed and dated lower right: B. Vautier 65. Result: € 20.000, Auction "Fine Art", 2014.