Art Law Report

Gurlitt Bequest to Kunstmuseum Bern is Upheld

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 15, 2016 at 9:48 AM

Cousin Had Challenged His Capacity to Make a Will Shortly Before 2014 Death

After a two-year legal battle, the Oberlandesgericht in Munich has upheld the dismissal of Uta Werner’s challenge to the will made by Cornelius Gurlitt in 2014 that designated the Kunstmuseum Bern as his heir, including the bequest of his controversial painting collection.  Less than six months after it was revealed in November 2013 that the Bavarian authorities had seized 1,280 objects from his Schwabing home in Munich, Gurlitt wrote a will that designated that his entire collection would go to the Swiss museum.  Barring some extraordinary appeal, the bequest will now be final and the collection will go to Switzerland.  While lifting considerable uncertainty about the fate of the collection as a whole, this development does not address the lack of clarity about the process by which the objects that are suspected of having been looted by the Nazis will be examined or returned.

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Topics: Gurlitt, NS Raubkunst, Cornelius Gurlitt, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Kunstmuseum Bern, Nazi-looted art, Washington Principles, Nazi-looted art in Munich, Munich, Uta Werner, Oberlandesgericht, SZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Jörg Häntzschel, Catrin Lorch, Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB), Free State of Bavaria, Bayern

If the Kunstmuseum Bern Says No: Gurlitt Heirs Discuss Plans if They Inherit Schwabing Trove

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 14, 2014 at 7:12 AM

As the November 26, 2014 deadline approaches by which the Kunstmuseum Bern must accept or reject the appointment as Cornelius Gurlitt’s heir and the bequest of the paintings seized by the Bavarian government on suspicions of Nazi-looting concerns (as well as those in other countries that were not seized), most observers expect the museum to accept the appointment, albeit perhaps with some side agreement with the German government. But what if the museum says no? Reports floated this week of what Gurlitt’s heirs-at-law might do in that event.

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Topics: Schwabinger Kunstfund, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Monopol, SZ, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Entartete Kunst, Willbald Gurlitt, Restitution, Bavaria, World War II, Degenerate Art Action, degenerate art, beschlagnahmte Kunst, Kunstmuseum Bern, Münchner Kunstfund

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