Obituaries News Germany

Cornelius Gurlitt has died

Son of art dealer who prospered under the Nazis, Gurlitt kept collection he inherited hidden for years

Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of the art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt who prospered during the Nazi era, has died. According to a press statement, the 81-year-old art collector died in his apartment in Schwabing on Monday morning following heart surgery.

His death puts an end to the tax investigation that is centred on his controversial art collection, according to the same statement. In 2012, as part of a routine tax investigation, works by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Beckmann and Nolde were seized in Gurlitt's Munich apartment. Further works were later found in Gurlitt's second home in Austria. The collection came to world-wide attention after fears that many of the works had been looted by the Nazis.

At the beginning of April, Gurlitt signed an agreement with the federal government of Germany and the state of Bavaria to allow a dedicated task-force to research the collection and to return those works with a questionable provenance. The seized works were subsequently released.

More from The Art Newspaper


7 May 14
15:5 CET


It was not "a routine tax investigation" that revealed Gurlitt's Schwabing art collection -- travelling from Switzerland home to Germany he has been controlled in a train by toll keepers who found 9.000 euros he was keeping. This is what made him suspect.

Submit a comment

All comments are moderated. If you would like your comment to be approved, please use your real name, not a pseudonym. We ask for your email address in case we wish to contact you - it will not be made public and we do not use it for any other purpose.


Want to write a longer comment to this article? Email


Share this