The still life Tulip in a Vase, a panel painting of 1637 by the 17th-century artist Dirck van Delen (Heusden 1605-1671 Arnemuiden) was restituted in 1999 by the City of Rotterdam to the heirs of the French Jewish collector Adolphe Schloss through the mediation of the French State. The museum acquired the signed and dated painting in 1976 as part of the bequest of the Russian-Polish art historian, art dealer and collector Dr Vitale Bloch (1900-1975).
The small painting occupies a special position within Van Delen’s oeuvre, for it is the only still life among a large number of architectural scenes. In addition, pictures of just a single flower are extremely rare. The shells are valuable exotic specimens. The tulip is the costly Generalissimo of Gouda, and it stands in a gendi vase imported from the Far East.
It is not entirely clear how this picture left the Schloss Collection in Paris, but it was probably confiscated by the Gestapo in 1943 along with the rest of his collection. It is not on the 1946 lists of works of art restituted by Germany. Nor is it known where or when Bloch, who knew Schloss well, acquired the still life.
After restitution to the heirs of Schloss the painting was auctioned in Paris on 20 December 2000, where it was sold to a private French collector for 1.4 million guilders.
Frits Scholten, ‘Rotterdamse grootmoedigheid’, Openbaar Kunstbezit 42/6 (1998), p. 2 Edward Grasman, “Vitale Bloch: de jonge jaren”, RKD Bulletin 2 (2010), pp. 2-13
Translation: Michael Hoyle