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Jewish/Nazi Art collection. Tragic, Fascinating story.


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Fascinating and tragic story. The collection includes Monet, Picasso, Renoir.

He couldn't cope physically but he couldn't cope emotionally either. Cornelius Gurlitt was 24 when his father died in 1956. In the half century and more since, the son has lived under the burden of his father's instruction to preserve the collection built up in the 20s, 30s and 40s.

The father, Hildebrand, was then an art dealer who, despite a Jewish background, was approved by the Nazis to deal in works, some of which were either looted outright from Jewish families or bought under extreme duress from people preparing to flee for their lives.

The father died and the son had to cope with the legacy which was to be his security in old age but also a curse.

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I just read the Guardian story on this. Sad for Cornelius. Poor old man. He was only about 15 at the end of the war so he had nothing to do with the looted art himself. He does say that the looted/purchased under duress stuff should be returned to the families but that's a bit late!

The latest estimates seem to be that is about 20% of the hoard. The rest, I suppose, belongs to him.

Other than that, he seems to have been a hoarder and a recluse living in squalor while keeping Dad's dreadful secret for 60+ years. The art works look in pretty bad shape. I hope they can be restored. The oils are one thing but piles of watercolors ...

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The french/german TV station Arte along with Maurice Philip Remy already did a hour-long documentation on him, named "Der seltsame Herr Gurlitt" ("The strange Mister Gurlitt") - it was on TV here just a couple of days ago, so I´ll try to see if I find it somewhere online and post the link.

It´s a really strange story, indeed.

Edit: Yay, found it!


It´s in german only, but maybe it´s of interest for anyone.

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