Swiss Museum to Display Looted Art

The Bern Art Museum to announce it will display the looted works willed to it by Cornelius Gurlitt.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

The name plate on the house of Cornelius Gurl
The name plate on the house of Cornelius Gurl
Reuters

Over two years after the discovery of missing masterpieces looted by the Nazis from their Jewish owners, German officials and a Swiss museum are expected to confirm on Monday that the paintings will go to Switzerland, according to Reuters.

The Bern Art Museum discovered in May it had been named sole heir of Cornelius Gurlitt, the recluse who kept the collection of 1,280 artworks hidden for decades until tax inspectors stumbled upon them on a visit to his Munich apartment in 2012.

Gurlitt died in May at the age of 81. The trove of Modernist and Renaissance masterpieces, which includes works by Chagall and Picasso, was assembled by his father Hildebrand, an art dealer charged with selling what Hitler called "degenerate" art.

The World Jewish Congress has warned the museum it risks an "avalanche" of lawsuits if it accepts the works. To limit the legal risks, the museum may leave some pieces in Germany until their origin has been determined, according to media reports.

German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters and Christoph Schaeublin, president of the museum's foundation board, are due to hold a news conference in Berlin on Monday to explain their decision, reported Reuters.

Before his death, Gurlitt agreed to let a task force research the works of suspicious provenance to determine if any of the art had been stolen or extorted from its original owners.

The works were seized in early 2012 when they were discovered by chance during a tax evasion probe, and Gurlitt willed them to the museum.

Germany has been sharply criticized for its "scandalous" handling of the art finds, as news of the discovery was only made public last November through a news report. Following the criticism, Germany created a site to facilitate the return of the art by increasing access to images of the pieces.

In late January, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder called on the German government to draft a new law to ease the process of returning the art.




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