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Label: nazi

Wednesday 27th April 2016Nazi Art Stash Finally Going On Display

Hildebrand GurlittWhether or not you read about it here, you may remember the story from a year or so ago about a huge stash of paintings that were discovered in Germany. The owner of the property where they were found, Cornelius Gurlitt, was the son of now-deceased art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt who was active during the Second World War.

The collection contained a huge number of pieces which were looted by the Nazis during this horrific time, including works by the European master painters Renoir, Picasso and Monet, among many others.

Once the pieces were discovered, there was a huge conflict about their provenance and Gurlitt refused to cooperate with authorities, which lead to the seizure of the entire collection. Some may have been rightfully his, but many pieces were suspected of being looted from Jewish owners, either taken by force or "sold" for a fraction of their real value.

After Gurlitt eventually agreed to cooperate to discover the true provenance of the works in 2014, he died suddenly a month later and ostensibly left the entire collection of work to the Bern Fine Arts Museum. They eventually reached an agreement with German authorities to accept the works that were clearly the rightful property of Gurlitt, and they will be going on display shortly.

The other works that have dubious or contested ownership will be investigated by German authorities as they try to determine the rightful owners of the works. In the meantime, they will be available on display as part of an exhibit in Bonn.

The two museums issued a joint statement about the exhibit:
“The exhibitions at the Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn and at the Fine Arts Musuem in Bern are planned for winter 2016/17 and their content will be coordinated.

“The exhibition at the Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn will deal more specifically with the history of the collection, and it is hoped it will contribute to further investigation of the provenance of the works.

“It will also focus on the fates of persecuted art collectors and their collections.”

That last part seems a bit dubious, although it turns out that only 5 of the works in Gurlitt's collection have proven to be looted - so far. Two of those have since been returned to their rightful owners.
 

Posted on April 27th 2016 on 04:23pm
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