Silesian Museum Collection

VAN HAM Restitutions

Achenbach's painting returns to Wroclaw

The lost painting "Via Cassia bei Rom" (Via Cassia near Rome) by the Düsseldorf-based painter Oswald Achenbach is a work of the Collection of the Silesian Museum for Fine Arts, which could be returned to the Polish National Museum in Wroclaw thanks to Van Ham's successful mediation. Being part of Conrad Fisher's art collection it came to this museum as a gift in 1907. Ever since World War Two, after a burglary into a depot, the painting has been thought to be lost.

With the aid of its database the unit for losses suffered during the war of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland found the painting by Achenbach in Van Ham's spring auction catalogue "Fine Arts" in May 2014. Appropriate actions were taken and once again Markus Eisenbeis, Managing Director of Van Ham, performed as mediator between the consigner and the original owner. "We are also interested in a fair solution for both parties involved, even if this means that the painting can not be sold in our house, just like in this case. The restitution claims have to be clarified and thanks to our experience we can play a role in this process" explains Eisenbeis. He further states: "We were able to convince the consigner to withdraw his property claims for this painting and to give it to the Polish State, resp. the National Museum in Wroclaw."

On August 7th, 2014 at a ceremony the painting was given back to the National Museum in Wroclaw in the presence of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, Prof. Małgorzata Omilanowska.

Oswald Achenbach (1927-1905), Via Cassia near Rom, Oil on canvas, 50 x 56,5cm,
Signed and dated lower right: Osw. Achenbach 1878.