Art Law Report

First Painting Restituted from Gurlitt Trove to be Sold; Appellate Court in Munich Breathes New Life Into Will Contest

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 25, 2015 at 2:40 AM

After the restitution of the first two works of Nazi-looted art from the trove of works found in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, David Toren has announced his intention to auction his work, Two Riders on the Beach by Max Liebermann. Toren, now more than 90 years old, remembers the theft of the painting from his uncle David Friedmann in Breslau (now Wrocław). Toren is the only claimant to date to have filed litigation over the Gurlitt case. Sotheby’s will auction the work on June 24. Toren explained his motivation for the sale as follows:

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Topics: Petra Willner, Cornelius Gurlitt, Breslau, Wrocław, Zwei Reiter am Strand, Uta Werner, Max Liebermann, Gurlitt Collection, Two Riders on the Beach, Verena Osgyan, Oberlandesgericht, Gurlitt, Restitution, David Toren, World War II, Mittelbayerische Zeitung, Kunstmuseum Bern, Museums, Berner Zeitung, David Friedmann

Two Works Found With Gurlitt Cleared for Immediate Restitution, Hundreds More Still in Limbo

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 13, 2015 at 9:04 AM

After months of start/stop and hurry up and wait, the Munich court with jurisdiction over the Gurlitt collection has cleared two paintings for restitution to the heirs of their original owners. David Toren and the Rosenberg family will receive Two Riders on the Beach (Ritter am Strand) by Max Liebermann and Seated Woman by Henri Matisse, respectively. This will also result in the resolution of the only lawsuit to date filed over the Gurlitt case (pending in Washington, DC). Toren and the Rosenbergs are to be congratulated for their perseverance, as should their representatives (again, respectively) August Matteis and Christopher Marinello—particularly after some eleventh-hour victim-blaming.

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Topics: Gurlitt Task Force, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Two Riders on the Beach, August Mattheis and Christopher Marinello, Munich, Rosenbergs, Gurlitt, Restitution, David Toren, World War II, W Wall Street Journal, Ritter am Strand

Gurlitt Bequest to Kunstmuseum Bern is Upheld, Little Else Resolved

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 30, 2015 at 10:05 AM

A Munich court ruled last week that the will written by Cornelius Gurlitt in the last days of his life that named the Kunstmuseum Bern (an institution with which he had no relationship whatsoever) was valid, rejecting a challenge by Gurlitt’s cousin Uta Werner. It is emblematic of the strange case of Gurlitt and of German’s bizarre handling of the affair, that this decision resolves very few of the pending issues.

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Topics: Conny Leaks, Focus, Carl Spitzweg, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Potemkin Village, Cornelius Gurlitt, Breslau, Henri Hinrichsen, German Minister of Culture, Uta Werner, Gurlitt Task Force, Max Liebermann, Germany, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Seated Woman, Two Riders on the Beach, Entartete Kunst, Salzburg, Gurlitt, NS Raubkunst, Seuddeutsche Zeitung, Restitution, Catrin Lorch, Bavaria, David Toren, World War II, degenerate art, beschlagnahmte Kunst, Austria, Kunstmuseum Bern, Monika Grütters, Martha Hinrichsen, David Friedmann, Henri Matisse, Jörg Häntzschel, Paul Rosenberg

Kunstmuseum Bern and Germany Now Blaming Claimants for Delay in Gurlitt Restitution

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 20, 2015 at 4:28 AM

In a story that never fails to provide new twists and turns, the Kunstmseum Bern, apparently with the collaboration of the German government, is now contesting the idea that the only thing holding up restitution of the works identified as Nazi-looted by the Gurlitt Task Force is the will contest by Cornelius Gurlitt's cousin Uta Werner. Instead, they are now blaming the claimants themselves for the delay in restituting Seated Woman by Henri Matisse, The Cardplayers, by Carl Spitzweg, and Two Riders on the Beach, by Max Liebermann, to the Rosenberg, Henrichnsen, and Friedmann/Toren families, respectively.

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Topics: The Cardplayers, Carl Spitzweg, Friedmann, Toren, Henrichnsen, Uta Werner, Max Liebermann, Gurlitt Collection, Seated Woman, Two Riders on the Beach, Matisse, Rosenberg, Gurlitt, Restitution, World War II, German Center for Lost Cultural Property, Deutsches Zentrum für Kulturgutverluste, Henri Matisse

Kunstmuseum Bern Blames Gurlitt Restitution Delay on Will Contest, Claimants Are Having None of it

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 18, 2015 at 8:04 AM

We recently discussed how the will contest concerning the will in which Cornelius Gurlitt left his estate to the Kunstmuseum Bern was complicating efforts to restitute any Nazi-looted works within the collection. Since the will contest, in and it itself, certainly seemed plausible, the resulting effect it could have on returning questionable works was not hard to see.

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Topics: Uta Werner, Max Liebermann, Gurlitt Collection, Seated Woman, Two Riders on the Beach, Matisse, Carl Spitweg, Gurlitt, Breslau David Toren, Art Recovery International, Kunstmuseum Bern, Henri Henrichsen, Christopher Marinello, David Friedmann, ArtNet, Paul Rosenberg

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