Sneha Girap (Editor)

Cornelius Gurlitt (art collector)

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Nationality  German
Name  Cornelius Gurlitt
Occupation  Art collector
Full Name  Cornelius Gurlitt
Born  December 28, 1932 (1932-12-28) Hamburg, Germany
Died  (2014-05-06)May 6, 2014 Munich, Germany
Parent(s)  Hildebrand Gurlitt Helene Gurlitt
Relatives  Cornelius Gurlitt (grandfather)

Cornelius Gurlitt (December 28, 1932 - May 6, 2014) was a German art collector born in Hamburg. Cornelius Gurlitt's parents were the art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt from well known Gurlitt family, and his wife Helene nee Hanke. He grew up in the Dammtor district of Hamburg with his sister Renate, who was born there in 1935. His great-grandmother was Jewish, which caused his father be labelled as a "quarter-Jew" under Nazi race laws in the Volkszahlung vom 17. Mai 1939, or so-called "German Minority Census" of 1939.

In the spring of 2012, in the course of a tax investigation of the subject, German customs officials obtained a warrant to search the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt in the Schwabing district of Munich and discovered 1,406 works of art worth an estimated €1 billion. These works of art are alleged to have been stolen by the Nazis, and were later returned to the possession of Hildebrand Gurlitt. They were subsequently inherited by his son Cornelius. Whether his family has any knowledge of these allegedly stolen artworks is unknown, but extensive reports in the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper state that Gurlitt lived "like a hermit" and refused entry to his apartment / art storage depot "even to close members of his family."

On 2013-November-11, the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that they received a letter from Gurlitt telling them that "the name Gurlitt may not appear in your magazine." Gurlitt then told two reporters from the Paris Match, who confronted him in a Munich supermarket, that "Applause from the wrong side is the worst thing there is." Der Spiegel found this comment "puzzling."

Gurlitt died on May 6, 2014. Before his death, he wrote a will declaring the Bern Art Museum in Switzerland as his "sole heir". This created further controversy over the appropriateness of the museum accepting this bequest. The museum decided to accept those works which are not legally the property of previous Nazi-era owners, or their heirs, and has entered into a joint-agreement with German an Swiss authorities about the handing of this bequest. Gurlitt's family (cousins) also entered the discussion, raising questions about the legality of the will, based on his state of mind at the time. The process of winding up the Gurlitt estate has proceeded. Some of the artworks have been returned to the heirs of previous owners, and at least one major artwork from the collection has since been auctioned and sold; Two Riders on a Beach (1901), by Max Liebermann.

References

Cornelius Gurlitt (art collector) Wikipedia


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