Desirée was the wife of Jacques Goudstikker, son of Eduard Goudstikker who had opened his gallery in Amsterdam in the mid-nineteenth century. By the early twentieth century it was one of the best known art firms in Amsterdam and was run by Jacques. The firm had a huge inventory of old master paintings and published, exhibited, and sold widely. The history of the firm during World War II is particularly complicated. Jacques Goudstikker, a Jew, fled Holland in May 1940, just prior to the German occupation. He died en route to England, leaving behind a young widow, Desirée, and an unborn child who eventually made their way to the United States. In July of 1940 the gallery in Amsterdam was sold by Goudstikker employees to Alois Miedl, a principle agent for Hermann Goering. Goering took the pick of the Gallery's stock and sold back to Miedl those paintings which he did not want. Miedl then continued run the gallery under the Goudstikker name throughout the war. He continued to act as a dealer throughout the war, selling primarily to German buyers in Amsterdam as well as exporting a large number of Goudstikker paintings to Germany for sale. Near the end of the war, in 1944 Miedl, managed to get into Spain with 25 paintings (some Goudstikker). He was interrogated there by the Officer of Strategic Services regarding his war-time activities. The post war history of the Goudstikker collection is equally complicated. After the war, over 300 Goudstikker pictures were restituted to the Dutch government, who made a complicated arrangement with Desirée Goudstikker and eventually kept most of the recovered Goudstikker pictures. Desirée Goudstikker was remarried to August E.D. von Saher, and took his name as did her son Eduard.
Rousseau, Theodore. Consolidated Interrogation Report: The Goering collection. 1946: 71-74, attachments 17-18, 22-29 [copy: National Gallery Archives, S. Lane Faison Papers, Box 1]
Nicholas, Lynn. H. The Rape of Europa. New York, 1994:83-85, 104-107, 422-423.
Riding, Alan. "Heirs Claim Art Lost to Nazis in Amsterdam." The New York Times 12 January 1998