When Cornelius Gurlitt left his art collection of 1,500 works to the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern, Switzerland, in 2014, he was of sound mind, a court in Munich ruled Thursday.
The museum had been waiting for the ruling in order to prepare for the artworks to be transferred after a cousin of Gurlitt, Uta Werner, had challenged the will. Werner wanted to keep the art in the family and in Germany.
When the artwork was discovered, it led to international research into many of the paintings, which historians suspect may have been stolen from Jews and/or looted by Nazis during World War II before falling into Gurlitt’s hands.
Although research has been ongoing, authorship for many of the paintings cannot be verified definitively. According to The New York Times, a few pieces of the art collection have been returned to their original owners or their heirs, but many are still in limbo.
The museum has said it will continue the research after the official report is made in January.
Werner had argued that because Gurlitt was being cared for by a court-appointed guardian, he was not of sound mind to write his will in 2014, but the court rejected that argument.
“The Kutzmuseum Bern was legitimately named as sole inheritor in the will,” the court’s statement read. It didn’t find that Gurlitt “suffered from a so-called delirium when he drew up the will,” according to the Times.
Werner said she would consult with her lawyers to see if there were any other legal measures she could take to keep the artwork in Germany.
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