Tags: cornelius gurlitt | dies | nazi | art | hoarder

Cornelius Gurlitt Dies: Nazi-Era Art Dealer's Son Hoarded 1,200 Works

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 02:44 PM

By Nick Sanchez

Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Nazi-era art dealer who hoarded more than 1,200 paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, and Paul Gauguin, died in his Munich apartment on Tuesday at the age of 81.

Stephan Holzinger, his spokesman, told Bloomberg News Gurlitt died in the presence of his doctor and nurse.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

Authorities found Gurlitt's collection by chance just a few years ago after he was stopped for a random search on a train trip returning from Switzerland. He was found to have a large sum of cash, which tipped off state tax officials. The German government raided his apartment on suspicion of tax evasion in February 2012 after finding a large cache of paintings tucked away in his apartment behind food and juice cans.

The reclusive Gurlitt initially refused to say a word to reporters after the paintings were seized from his Munich apartment in Germany and house in Salzburg, Austria, but after Spiegel magazine offered up a reporter to spend a few days with him, he made a few statements.

Gurlitt explained that he inherited the paintings from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, a former museum director and one of only four dealers authorized under the Nazi regime to deal modern art. His father was considered "degenerate," in order to raise foreign money. He was classified as "second-degree mixed-race Jewish."

Many of the pieces were confiscated from Jewish families, while others were purchased legally. Many of the pieces are thought to have originally belonged to Paul Rosenberg of France, who represented Picasso, Matisse, and other artists before fleeing the war.

The collection, which is now estimated to be worth more than $1.4 billion, was Gurlitt's most prized treasure, and he told Spiegel magazine he didn't quite understand why the government wouldn't let him live in peace with his pieces.

"What do these people want from me? I’m just a very quiet person. All I wanted to do was live with my pictures," he said. 

Bloomberg reported that Gurlitt was indeed a quiet person, "isolated from the outside world," who "stopped watching television in 1963, booked hotel rooms months in advance by post when he had to travel, and never used the Internet."

As part of the ongoing proceedings regarding the art, a massive effort to identify past owners who may be owed restitution for their losses has begun.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that with his passing, "It was not clear if Mr. Gurlitt had drawn up a will that would stipulate what would happen to his collection."

Urgent: Assess Your Heart Attack Risk in Minutes. Click Here.

Related Stories:

© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

SAG Awards 2015: 'Birdman,' Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore Win Big

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 13:16 PM

Big SAG Award 2015 wins by "Birdman," "The Theory of Everything's" Eddie Redmayne, and "Still Alice's" Julianne Moore ap . . .

Libby Lane Consecrated as Church of England's First Female Bishop

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 12:52 PM

Libby Lane is now the Church of England's first female bishop after she was consecrated Monday despite opposition from t . . .

Joe Franklin, New York Television and Radio Icon, Dies at 88

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 12:33 PM

Joe Franklin, a New York late night talk show icon that appeared on the airways from 1950 to 1993, died Saturday of pros . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved