The reclusive art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt has died at the age of 81 following major heart surgery.
Gurlitt’s collection of over 1,400 works of art was discovered in his Munich apartment in 2012, but was only brought to public attention in November last year. Gurlitt’s art-dealer father, Hildebrand, had close links to the Nazi Party, prompting speculation that some items may have been looted during the Nazi era. The story has rarely been out of the art press since, especially as numerous additional works of art were subsequently brought to light. Several items were under investigation, with Gurlitt’s cooperation, although it was announced last month that much of his collection would be returned to him.
Gurlitt’s death was announced on his lawyer’s website – which was set up specifically to handle restitution claims and media enquiries – this morning. The short statement confirmed that, ‘with the death of Cornelius Gurlitt end both the court-ordered care, as well as the investigation’.
Spoiled: cache of art discovered in Cornelius Gurlitt’s flat (Corinna Lotz)
The Spoliation Advisory Panel and Art Restitution Claims (Martin Levy)