Nazi art recluse ‘surfaces’ in Munich

Cornelius Gurlitt, who hid Nazi masterpieces, is reported to be alive and living in Munich

In the art world it appears to have been an open secret that Cornelius Gurlitt was sitting on at least part of the “degenerate” art collection of his father Hildebrand. Photograph: Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler

In the art world it appears to have been an open secret that Cornelius Gurlitt was sitting on at least part of the “degenerate” art collection of his father Hildebrand. Photograph: Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler

 


Cornelius Gurlitt, the man who hid a Nazi treasure trove of lost masterpieces in his Munich apartment, is still alive and residing at the same address, according to two separate reports.

Reporters from French magazine Paris Match claim to have confronted Mr Gurlitt (79) in a local shopping centre after seeing him leave the modernist apartment block in Munich’s Schwabing district. Mr Gurlitt is said to have brushed aside an interview request with the enigmatic phrase: “Approval that comes from the wrong side is the worst thing that could happen.”

The accompanying picture shows an elderly man with neatly combed hair with a shopping trolley. Paris Match describes Mr Gurlitt as having an “elegant demeanour” and that “his piercing blue eyes [were] filled with fear and anger”.

A letter signed by Cornelius Gurlitt published in the new edition of Der Spiegel, meanwhile, seems to support the theory that Mr Gurlitt has simply continued to go about his old routines while the story of his hidden artworks has blown up around him.

Dated November 4th, 2013, and sent from the address where the artworks were found, the letter asks the magazine to refrain from citing his name in future.

It appears that Mr Gurlitt has mixed up Der Spiegel, Germany’s biggest-selling magazine, with its rival publication Focus, which broke the story.

Last Monday, when Mr Gurlitt wrote his letter, Der Spiegel had yet to publish an article on the Munich art haul.

Last Tuesday, customs authorities had said they did not know Mr Gurlitt’s whereabouts. – (Guardian service)