Art Law Report

Gurlitt Will Contest Won’t be Resolved Anytime Soon, Will Likely Delay Restitution

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 6, 2015 at 10:41 PM

Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) reported yesterday that the challenge by Uta Werner to her cousin Cornelius Gurlitt’s will may extend late into this year. Werner has petitioned the court in Munich to set aside the last will and testament that named the Kunstmuseum in Bern as Gurlitt’s sole heir and beneficiary of the 1,280 works of art found in his apartment in 2012, as well as those in Salzburg. In November, the Kunstmuseum, the Bavarian government, and the German government announced to great fanfare but little analysis that the museum would accept the bequest and work with the Gurlitt Task Force to sort through objects with questionable provenance related to Hildebrand Gurlitt’s role as an approved dealer of “degenerate art” under the Nazis, and the concern that some of the objects may be Nazi-looted art.

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Topics: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Cornelius Gurlitt, Breslau, Henri Hinrichsen, Stefan Koldehoff, Die Bilder Sind Unter Uns Das Geschäft mit der NS-, Zwei Reiter am Strand, Max Liebermann, Germany, Fall Gurlitt, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, SRF, Hildebrand Gurltt, will contest, Gurlitt, Restitution, David Toren, World War II, Task Force, Die Zeit, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, Kunstmuseum Bern, Martha Hinrichsen, Raubkunst, The Pictures Are Under Us Business in Nazi-Looted, last will and testament

Curiouser and Curiouser: Still More Gurlitt Paintings Found, Nazi-Looting Connections Unknown

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 25, 2014 at 7:25 AM

As if the Cornelius/Hildebrand Gurlitt saga needed any more complications as the world awaits the official decision by the Kunstmuseum Bern about whether to accept the appointment as Cornelius Gurlitt’s heir, even more artwork has apparently turned up. Der Spiegel, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and the Wall Street Journal have reported that one picture and several sculptures in the very apartment from which the original trove was seized more than two years ago. Among the sculptures are apparently a Degas and a Rodin. Nothing else seems known about the works or their ownership history, or whether they might be among works that Hildebrand Gurlitt sold or acquired as "degenerate" (side note: the Victoria and Albert Museum's copy of the Degenerate Art Action register is currently on display in New York at the Neue Galerie's exhibition of that title. While it is available online, it is most certainly worth a visit before the show ends).

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Topics: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Victoria and Albert Museum, Rodin, Cornelius Gurlitt, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Gurlitt Task Force, Fall Gurlitt, Gurlitt Collection, Degas, Hildebrand Gurlit, Entartete Kunst, Gurlitt, Restitution, Bavaria, Neue Galerie, Der Spiegel, Wall Street Journal, World War II, Degenerate Art Action, degenerate art, Kunstmuseum Bern, www.lostart.de, Nazi art, Raubkunst

Gurlitt Can’t Get His Story Straight About Salzburg Trove

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 27, 2014 at 6:30 AM

As confusion swirls around Cornelius Gurlitt’s actual plans, one of the issues is that his team is not speaking consistently with one voice. In particular, there are odd developments about the artworks that Gurlitt himself had removed from his Salzburg home in February—oddities that are worth weighing when considering the recent public statements about his supposed willingness to return some of the art. The fact that Gurlitt’s team itself has undergone a shakeup is also worthy of note.

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Topics: Schwabinger Kunstfund, Hannes Hartung, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Stefan Edel, www.Gurlitt.Info, Mary Lane, Fall Gurlitt, Gurlitt Collection, Sitting Woman, stolen art, Meike Hoffmann, Salzburg, Restitution, Wall Street Journal, World War II, Süddeutsche Zeitung, New York Times, Raubkunst, Münchner Kunstfund, Limbach Commission, Henri Matisse, Paul Rosenberg

Gurlitt Art Return Click-Bait and Switch—Don’t Get Fooled by Headlines

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 27, 2014 at 6:17 AM

It was hardly surprising that news that Cornelius Gurlitt was willing to return artworks taken from his apartment in 2012 that had once been taken from Jews spread quickly. What is regrettable is how quickly the headlines seem to have gone viral that he is going—or even willing—to return all of the paintings. Nothing that he or his representatives have said supports that contention. From the New York Times, for example:

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Topics: Schwabinger Kunstfund, Hannes Hartung, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, www.Gurlitt.Info, Mary Lane, Fall Gurlitt, Gurlitt Collection, Sitting Woman, stolen art, Meike Hoffmann, Salzburg, Restitution, Wall Street Journal, World War II, Süddeutsche Zeitung, New York Times, Raubkunst, Münchner Kunstfund, Limbach Commission, Henri Matisse, Paul Rosenberg

Augsburg Prosecutor Rejects Idea of Making Deal with Gurlitt, Harvard and LACMA Beckmann Paintings Highlight Difficulty Ahead Without Agreement

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 5, 2014 at 7:14 AM

Just days after attorneys for Cornelius Gurlitt floated the idea of discussions with survivors and heirs for a possible resolution to the questions about the artworks found in his apartment two years ago that are suspected of having been stolen or sold under duress during the Nazi era (and after the prosecutor was ordered to make a full list available to journalists), the prosecutor in charge of the investigation categorically rejected the possibility of any deal with Gurlitt.

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Topics: Erhard Göpel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, FAZ, Focus, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Augsburg, Amsterdam, Willi Korte, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Marvin Fishman, Reinhard Nemetz, Gurlitt Task Force, Germany, Fall Gurlitt, The Art Newspaper, Gurlitt Collection, Max Beckmann, Karl Buchholz, Robert Looker, Entartete Kunst, Bar Braun, Beutekunst, Schwabing, Magdeburg, LACMA, Ersessene Kunst, Harvard, Gurlitt, Bavaria, Busch-Reisinger, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, degenerate art, the Central Collecting Point, Augsburger Staatsanwalt, www.lostart.de, Nazi art, Sotheby's, Roman Norbert Ketterer, Raubkunst, Verjährung, Mayen Beckmann, National Gallery Berlin, verschollene Kunst, De-Nazification, Selbstbildnis, Self Portrait

Cornelius Gurlitt’s Lawyers File Privacy Complaint

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 3, 2014 at 11:24 AM

In one of the first affirmative steps taken by Cornelius Gurlitt since the revelation of the seizure of a large number of artworks with possible Nazi-seizure connections, Gurlitt has filed a criminal complaint concerning his allegations of violations of his privacy rights. According to Gurlitt’s attorney, “The surrender of investigative information to the press, and with it the severe damage to his personal rights is not tolerable in any way for Mr. Gurlitt. . . . This is a blatant violation of official secrecy.” Another of his lawyers went on to express concern for trust in the process in which details were being given to the media. In particular, Gurlitt’s team were most upset about photographs in the Focus piece that broke the story of Gurlitt’s apartment.

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Topics: Stuttgart, Das Alte Schauspielhaus, Cologne, Irina Alter, veschollene Kunst, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Wiedergutmachung, Annette Weber, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Corinna Budras, S. Lane Faison, Universität Heidelberg, Augsburg, Institute for Jewish Studies Heidelberg, Aryanization, Anat Feinberg, Willi Korte, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Monuments Man, Gurlitt Task Force, Germany, Fall Gurlitt, Köln, Nazi-looted art, Henry Keazor, Gurlitt Collection, Appropriated Art the Gurlitt Case, Kurpfälzisches Museum Heidelberg, Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg, Eberhard Karls-Universität Tübingen, Emily Löffler, CSU, Williams College, Judische Allgemeine, Hildebrand Gurlit, Entartete Kunst, Universität Zürich, Arisierung, Lehrstuhl für Römisches Recht und Privatrecht, Nürnberger Institut, Rückgabe, Rhein-Neckar Morgenweb, Beutekunst, 'Stürmer-Bibliothek', Magdeburg, Daniel Krochmalnik, Ersessene Kunst, Katja Terlau, Art Loss Recovery Unit, Jim Tobias, Rhein-Neckar Zeitung, Fritz Backhaus, Gurlitt, Bavaria, Johannes Heil, Wien, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Lucas Elmenhorst, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Nürnberg, Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, Looted Art, „Sturmer-Library“, degenerate art, Boston, Seminar für Neuere Geschichte, Wolfgang Ernst, www.lostart.de, Nazi art, Raubkunst, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Frieder Hepp, Verjährung, Vienna, Münchner Kunstfund, New York, FAZ Frankfurt, Felicitas Heiman-Jellinek

Gurlitt Attorney Speaks of Discussions with Heirs and “Fair and Equitable Solution,” Challenges Earlier Quote Despite Video of Interview

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 30, 2014 at 4:44 AM

One of Cornelius Gurlitt’s attorneys, Hannes Hartung, told the Wall Street Journal last week, and was again quoted in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung yesterday, that Gurlitt was open to possible resolutions to claims from heirs to the paintings found in his apartment in 2012. According to Hartung, Gurlitt is already in talks with heirs, and wants a “fair and equitable solution.”

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Topics: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Ich geb' nichts freiwillig zurück, FAZ, veschollene Kunst, Focus, Hannes Hartung, Cornelius Gurlitt, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Fall Gurlitt, The Art Newspaper, Gurlitt Collection, Max Beckmann, Hildebrand Gurlit, Entartete Kunst, Bar Braun, Özlem Gezer, Beutekunst, LACMA, Gurlitt, David D’Arcy, Der Spiegel, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, degenerate art, Raubkunst

Recap of Ersessene Kunst—Der Fall Gurlitt (Appropriated Art—The Gurlitt Case): January 26, 2014 in Heidelberg

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 28, 2014 at 9:24 AM

I’ve just returned from my presentation in Heidelberg at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg at the conference Ersessene Kunst—Der Fall Gurlitt; Appropriated Art—The Gurlitt Case. The presentations were, without exception, outstanding. They ranged from rarely-told case stories, to sharp insights of some of the overarching principles that guide the the Gurlitt case and similar events. As the discussions made clear, this case will not be easily resolved. That in turn makes recent reports that Cornelius Gurlitt has indicated a willingess to discuss the art's return all the more significant.

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Topics: Maria Altmann, Leopold Reidemester, Ministerin für Justiz und Kultur, Stuttgart, Das Alte Schauspielhaus, Cologne, Irina Alter, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, veschollene Kunst, Focus, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Aschbach Castle, Mussolini, Wiedergutmachung, Annette Weber, Monte Cassino, Cornelius Gurlitt, Corinna Budras, S. Lane Faison, Breslau, Universität Heidelberg, Augsburg, Aryanization, Anat Feinberg, Willi Korte, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Monuments Man, Jud Süss, Wrocław, Dresden, Gurlitt Task Force, Germany, Silesia, Fall Gurlitt, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Köln, Nazi-looted art, Henry Keazor, Gurlitt Collection, Appropriated Art the Gurlitt Case, Schloss Aschbach, Die Welt, Kurpfälzische Museum Heidelberg, Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg, Karl Haberstock, Eberhard Karls-Universität Tübingen, Emily Löffler, CSU, Williams College, Hildebrand Gurlit, Entartete Kunst, Universität Zürich, Arisierung, Lehrstuhl für Römisches Recht und Privatrecht, Württemberg, Schlesien, Nürnberger Institut, Hamburg, Otto Förster, Rückgabe, Beutekunst, 'Stürmer-Bibliothek', Magdeburg, Portrait of Amalie Zuckerkandl, Ersessene Kunst, Katja Terlau, Art Loss Recovery Unit, Jim Tobias, Hermitage, Gurlitt, Bavaria, Johannes Heil, Wien, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Lucas Elmenhorst, Events, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Nürnberg, Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, Looted Art, „Sturmer-Library“, degenerate art, Seminar für Neuere Geschichte, Wolfgang Ernst, Justizminister, Göring, www.lostart.de, Nazi art, Raubkunst, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Frieder Hepp, Verjährung, Vienna, Claudius Krausharr, Münchner Kunstfund, Zwickau, Kajetan Mühlmann, New York, Werner Haftmann, FAZ Frankfurt, Felicitas Heiman-Jellinek

“Appropriated Art—the Gurlitt Case,” Heidelberg, Germany January 26, 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

The Institute for Jewish Studies in Heidelberg (the Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg) will host a one-day conference on January 26, 2014 entitled “Appropriated Art—The Gurlitt Case” (Ersessene Kunst—Der Fall Gurlitt). Leading academics, journalists, and researchers will put the Gurlitt find into a historical and legal perspective. As listed below, the depth of topics that will be presented is outstanding. Last, and very much least, I will present on the efficacy, challenges, and policy considerations in U.S. art restitution litigation.

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Topics: Stuttgart, Das Alte Schauspielhaus, Cologne, Irina Alter, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Wiedergutmachung, Annette Weber, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Corinna Budras, Universität Heidelberg, Institute for Jewish Studies Heidelberg, Aryanization, Anat Feinberg, Fall Gurlitt, Köln, Nazi-looted art, Henry Keazor, Gurlitt Collection, Appropriated Art the Gurlitt Case, Kurpfälzische Museum Heidelberg, Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg, Eberhard Karls-Universität Tübingen, Emily Löffler, Entartete Kunst, Universität Zürich, Arisierung, Lehrstuhl für Römisches Recht und Privatrecht, Nürnberger Institut, Rückgabe, Beutekunst, 'Stürmer-Bibliothek', Daniel Krochmalnik, Ersessene Kunst, Katja Terlau, Jim Tobias, Fritz Backhaus, Johannes Heil, Wien, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Events, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Nürnberg, Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, Looted Art, „Sturmer-Library“, degenerate art, Boston, Seminar für Neuere Geschichte, Wolfgang Ernst, Raubkunst, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Frieder Hepp, Vienna, Münchner Kunstfund, New York, FAZ Frankfurt, Felicitas Heiman-Jellinek

Secret Witness Contradicted Hildebrand Gurlitt’s Claim to Monuments Men that His Art was Burned in Dresden

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 9, 2014 at 6:58 AM

From Dresden to Aschbach to Düsseldorf—New Scholarship in U.S. Archives Traces Hildebrand Gurlitt at War’s End, Could Affect Cornelius Gurlitt’s Claim to Good Faith Ownership

The Main Post has an article today (in German) by Christine Jeske tracing the late-war and post-war trajectory of Hildebrand Gurlitt and his now-infamous collection. The article is fascinating, and sheds considerable light on how the collection came through the war and how Gurlitt evaded greater scrutiny that might have revealed the trove’s whereabouts earlier. It also puts into context any claim Cornelius Gurlitt might now have to argue he took possession of the paintings from his father unaware of their provenance—what will be a critical argument, particularly if yesterday’s Cultural Property Restitution Law proposal by Bavaria becomes federal law in German.

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Topics: Würzburg, Wiesbaden, Cultural Property Restitution Law, veschollene Kunst, Franken, Franconia, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, George Clooney, Erik Berger, Augsburg, Dresden, Nuremberg, Fall Gurlitt, Monuments Men, Gurlitt Collection, Karl Haberstock, Kunstverein, Entartete Kunst, Munich, Heiner Dikreiter, Beutekunst, Freiherr Gerhard von Pölnitz, Bavaria, Kulturgut-Rückgewähr-Gesetz, Nürnberg, Düsseldorf, Schlüsselfeld, Monuments Fine Arts and Archives, Gemäldegalerie Dresden, Christine Jeske, Walter Paech, degenerate art, Städtische Galerie, München, Main Post, Karl and Magdalene Haberstock Foundation, Raubkunst, Verjährung, Nazi Raubkunst, Aschbach

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