As the poor economy continues to severely impact the museum industry, several institutions find themselves in unprecedented positions. Most recently, JPMorgan Chase has claimed the rights to Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde's De bocht van de Herengracht (c. 1672), a painting currently owned by Amsterdam's famed Rijksmuseum.
Previous to the Rijksmuseum's acquisition of the work, the 17th-century painting was owned by Dutch businessman Louis Reijtenbagh, according to the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. However, the painting, along with the rest of Reijtenbagh's collection, was used as collateral in order to acquire a $50 million loan from JPMorgan in 2006. Reijtenbagh has since defaulted on his loan, and the New York–based bank is claiming the rights to the work, although the Rijksmuseum purchased it in 2008. Taco Dibbits, the director of collections at the Rijksmuseum, said that no legal proceeding pertaining to the Berckheyde masterpiece has been set, while insisting that the Rijksmuseum acquired the work in an appropriate fashion: "What we do know is that we bought the painting in September and that it is the property of the state of the Netherlands. There can be no doubt in our mind that the purchase followed all the procedures. It has been paid in full and there is a sales contract."
The Berckheyde is currently on loan to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., through May 3 in conjunction with the exhibition"Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age." It is uncertain if the work will be returned to Amsterdam following the conclusion of the show, pending the establishment of a court hearing in New York.