Art Law Report

The Gurlitt Deal—Prosecutor Gives Collection Back, Agreement Leaves Questions About Process and Transparency

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

The Augsburg prosecutor for the State of Bavaria announced today that in connection with Monday’s agreement with Cornelius Gurlitt, the 1,280 works of art seized from Gurlitt’s apartment in 2012 have been “returned” to Gurlitt. Though it does not appear that the objects have physically changed locations, the state officially lifted the seizure, and now has access to the collection for further provenance research pursuant to the agreement, rather than the compulsory process by which it retrieved them.

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Topics: German Ministry of Culture, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Cornelius Gurlitt, Bundesministerium für Kultur und Medien, Breslau, Augsburg, Willi Korte, London, Max Liebermann, Claude Monet, Christoph Edel, Gurlitt Collection, Ingrid Begreen-Merkel, Alt Ausee, Hildebrandt Gurlitt, stolen art, State of Bavaria, Reiter am Strand, Salzburg, Restitution, David Toren, Müncher Kunstfund, World War II, Task Force, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Freistaat Bayern, NS-beschlagnahmte Kunst, www.lostart.de, Monika Grütters, Riders on the Beach, Raubkunst, Bayerisches Staatsministerium der Justiz, Bavarian Ministry of Justice, Henri Matisse, Paul Rosenberg

Breakthrough? Gurlitt Signs Agreement with Germany For Continued Research and Commits to Return of Art

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 7, 2014 at 7:07 AM

Whether Austrian Trove is Included So Far Unmentioned In Reports of Agreement

On the heels of last night’s “60 Minutes” treatment of the Gurlitt saga (which featured Willi Korte and Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, two participants at January’s Ersessene Kunst-Der Fall Gurlitt at which I also spoke), news has come today that Cornelius Gurlitt has signed an agreement with the German federal government and the Bavarian Ministry of Justice with respect to the artworks taken from his apartment in 2012. Where recent statements that he intended to return what had been stolen left that outcome entirely to his discretion, he now seems to have committed expressly to some sort of return protocol. The precise details are still unknown.

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Topics: German Ministry of Culture, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Cornelius Gurlitt, Bundesministerium für Kultur und Medien, Willi Korte, London, Claude Monet, Christoph Edel, Gurlitt Collection, Ingrid Begreen-Merkel, Alt Ausee, Hildebrandt Gurlitt, stolen art, Salzburg, Restitution, Müncher Kunstfund, Task Force, NS-beschlagnahmte Kunst, www.lostart.de, Monika Grütters, Raubkunst, Bayerisches Staatsministerium der Justiz, Bavarian Ministry of Justice, Henri Matisse, Paul Rosenberg

Germany Itself Exhibited in the United States Dozens of Works from Hildebrandt Gurlitt in 1956

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 21, 2014 at 9:26 AM

There have been occasional references during the Gurlitt affair to the possiblity that some of the paintings seized from Hildebrand Gurlitt's apartment had been exhibited in the United States. Details have been sparse. With a copy of the out-of-print catalogue from that exhibition now in hand, however, we can start to identify the scope of this U.S. contact—and thus the basis for possible claims against Gurlitt and/or the Federal Republic of Germany by those paintings' original owners or heirs. Until the disclosures by the Gurlitt Task Force are complete, it remains to be seen which.

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Topics: Schwabinger Kunstfund, Max Beckmann. www.lostart.de, Lempertz, Cornelius Gurlitt, Nolde, Gurlitt Task Force, Art Association for the Rhineland and Westphalia, Gurlitt Collection, Lion Tamer, Hildebrandt Gurlitt, Entartete Kunst, Restitution, Kirchner, Kandinsky, World War II, German Watercolors Drawings and Prints, Löwenbändiger, Kunstverein Düsseldorf, A Loan Exhibition Sponsored by the Federal Republi, Franz Marc, Large Horse, Federal Republic of Germany, Raubkunst, Zandvoordt

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About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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