Collectors News Germany

Gurlitt could regain part of his collection in deal struck with German state

Task force will research provenance and anything not identified as Nazi loot within a year will be returned

Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive collector whose art hoard was confiscated by German authorities, has signed a deal that could see him regain works within a year in return for agreeing to co-operate with a task force of provenance researchers. The deal was announced today, 7 April, in a joint press statement issued by the Ministry of Culture and Media, the Bavarian Ministry of Justice and Gurlitt’s lawyers.

According to the statement, works with a questionable provenance will remain in authorities’ custody and details about them will be posted on the online database www.lostart.de. The task force dealing with the investigation into Gurlitt’s collection will now include at least one member representing the octogenarian collector. The team of experts aims to conclude its research within a year. Any pieces whose provenance has not been fully established within that time will be returned to Gurlitt. But as part of the deal, Gurlitt has agreed to allow access to the works so that the research can continue. Pieces that are indisputably his will be returned.

Bavaria’s Minister of Justice said: “The research into the ownership of the works will continue irrespective of how the criminal investigation proceeds. The significance of the so-called Schwabing art hoard goes beyond the criminal proceedings around tax-related issues.”

Gurlitt, the son of Hildbrand Gurlitt, a Nazi-era art dealer, was found with €9,000 in cash during a routine customs search on a train to Switzerland in 2010. A follow-up search of his home in Munich uncovered around 1,400 works or art, many of which are suspected of being Nazi loot.

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