Art Law: Frankfurt Court Allows Limitation Defence in Looted Art Case

WP_Max_Pechstein_2When the news about the Munich art find in Cornelius Gurlitt’s apartment broke, a legal issue that so far had been of interest only to a small community of lawyers or legal scholars gained prominence: the application of the statute of limitation to restitution claims for looted art. As the law stood, restitution claims against Gurlitt would, in all likelihood, have become time-barred. When the Gurlitt case made headlines worldwide, all of a sudden, politicians paid attention to that rather esoteric question. The newly appointed Bavarian Minister of Justice even initiated legislation to deal with the issue. But the topic disappeared from the political stage as quickly as it had made its appearance when it became clear that Cornelius Gurlitt was not going to invoke the limitation defence. The Bavarian law-making initiative fell into oblivion. Continue reading

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Munich Court of Appeals: Berne Museum of Fine Arts Confirmed as Gurlitt’s Heir

 

olg-munchenIn November 2013, the Munich Art Find made headlines world wide, when a newsmagazine broke the story about the seizure of an art collection in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a privileged art dealer in the Nazi period. With the help of some guest authors, we have covered the story and some of its legal implications quite extensively on this blog.* Things have been quiet recently, but today, the Court of Appeal (Oberlandesgericht) Munich announced its decision in the dispute about Cornelius Gurlitt’s last will, under which the Gurlitt art collection was bequeathed upon the Berne Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum Bern). Continue reading

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Art Law: Final Report of the Gurlitt Taskforce Released

Task Force Gurlitt LOGOAt a press conference today, the Gurlitt taskforce presented its final report on the provenance research into the Schwabing art find. Regular readers will be familiar with the Gurlitt case, which we have covered here in quite some detail. In a nutshell, the Gurlitt taskforce was established in November 2013 to deal with the art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a German art dealer who traded in degenerate art during the Nazi era. The collection was seized by the public prosecution (Staatsanwaltschaft) in Augsburg in early 2012 and was believed to contain a substantial number of looted artwork (see here for a detailed chronology of the Gurlitt saga in English). Continue reading

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Art Law: German “Centre for Lost Cultural Objects” To Be Established

Thanks to the Gurlitt saga, which we have covered extensively here, lost art and how to deal with it all of a sudden became a hotly debated subject, and triggered frantic activities on various levels. For example, Bavaria came forward with a legislative proposal that attempted to address the issue of the statute of limitation for restitution claims. And the matter brought about other change as well. Continue reading

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