Cornelius Gurlitt’s extraordinary cache of art, some of which is being investigated as possible Nazi loot, is bigger than we thought – again.
Gurlitt’s lawyers announced via their website on Wednesday that the total number of works found in the collector’s Salzburg apartment had risen to 238. The group includes paintings and works on paper by the likes of Monet, Corot, Renoir, Manet, Courbet, Pissarro, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Liebermann, Cézanne, and Nolde. Apparently many of the works weren’t discovered in an initial search of the flat, but were found on 10 February ‘in a previously inaccessible portion of the old house’.
In the same press release, it also emerged that one of Gurlitt’s lawyers, Hannes Hartung, had been discharged from his duties – no reason given – and that at least some works were to be returned to their rightful owners, having been confirmed as likely Nazi loot.
In a further twist, it’s also been reported that another property, in Bad Aussee, Austria, has been linked with Cornelius Gurlitt. Once owned by his father’s cousin Wolfgang, it is situated round the corner from the salt mines where the Nazi party stowed much of their stolen art, and may have been a warehouse for the family’s collection.
George Clooney eat your heart out: if you want to follow a confused, frustrating and fudged story of Nazi loot and subsequent efforts to restore it, you can’t do better than this. Will this serial saga ever conclusively wrap itself up? If the disappointing wider history of restitution cases in Europe is anything to go by, it may never manage to. And given the failure of both Gurlitt himself and the authorities investigating him to offer complete information as things unfold, we can expect a few more twists in the tale yet.
Second Gurlitt hoard comes to light (Maggie Gray)
Theft on Film: the Hollywood trend for art heist movies (Katy Barrett)
Spoiled: The Gurlitt Cache (Corinna Lotz)