Nazi art to be accepted by Swiss museum

Cornelius Gurlitt’s billion-euro trove includes masterpieces looted from Jewish owners

Christoph Schaeublin, president of the Foundation Council of the Kunstmuseum Bern art museum, and Monika Gruetters, German state culture minister, sign an agreement  over the future of the Gurlitt Collection. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Christoph Schaeublin, president of the Foundation Council of the Kunstmuseum Bern art museum, and Monika Gruetters, German state culture minister, sign an agreement over the future of the Gurlitt Collection. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

 

The Bern Art Museum has agreed to accept artworks from a billion-euro collection from the late Cornelius Gurlitt, a recluse whose trove included masterpieces looted from their Jewish owners by the Nazis.

Christoph Schaeublin of the Bern Art Museum told a news conference in Berlin that the museum would accept parts of the artworks bequeated by Gurlitt, who died in May at the age of 81.

The Bern Art Museum discovered in May it had been named sole heir of Gurlitt, the recluse who secretly kept the collection of more than 1,200 artworks hidden for decades until tax inspectors stumbled upon them on a visit to his Munich apartment in 2012.

The improbable treasure trove of Modernist and Renaissance masterpieces, which includes works by Chagall and Picasso, was assembled by his father Hildebrand, an art dealer charged with selling what Hitler called “degenerate” art.

The World Jewish Congress has warned the museum it risks an “avalanche” of lawsuits if it accepts the works.

Reuters