Cornelius Gurlitt

Cornelius Gurlitt’s Nazi-Era Art Collection Will Be Exhibited in November

The controversial collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, consisting of fifteen hundred works amassed by his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt—an art dealer who sold works on behalf of the Nazis—will go on view in Germany and Switzerland in November.

Bern’s Kunstmuseum received the collection after a Munich court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Uta Werner, Gurlitt’s cousin, in order to keep the works in Germany after Cornelius’s death. The court ruled that Gurlitt was of sound mind when he left the artworks to the Swiss museum in the will that he drew up shortly before undergoing major surgery.

The museum will collaborate with the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn to concurrently show the long-awaited exhibitions. In a joint statement, the institutions said the exhibitions will cast the works through different thematic lenses in order to “bring to light further evidence to help clarify the provenances of those works whose origins remain unknown.”

“Dossier Gurlitt: Degenerate Art,” the show in Bern, which runs from November 2 to March 4, 2018, will feature artworks seized from German museums by the Nazis as well as works owned by the Gurlitt family. The Bonn exhibition, “Dossier Gurlitt: Nazi Art Theft and Its Consequences,” which will be on view from November 3 to March 11, 2018, will focus on works with unknown provenances, the histories of Jewish families who were persecuted, Nazi perpetrators, and the unprecedented theft of art.

The exhibitions will be documented in a publication. An advisory board, including Esther Tisa Francini, Gilbert Lupfer, Uwe M. Schneede, Hermann Simon, and Shlomit Steinberg, will monitor both shows.