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
Cornelius Gurlitt sadly passed away on Tuesday this week. Shortly thereafter, the news broke that he had left his art collection to a museum outside Germany. Today, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, confirmed it was the beneficiary under Gurlitt’s last will. In a very open and frank statement, it expressed the museum’s surprise: Continue reading
It has been a week of massive movement in the Gurlitt case: On Monday, Gurlitt himself, Gurlitt’s guardian (Betreuer), Bavaria and the Federal Republic announced that they have come to an agreement. Gurlitt agrees for provenance research of his collection to continue. On a voluntary basis, he will accept the findings of the provenance research and restitute art work in accordance with the Washington Principles.
The Bavarian legislative proposal dealing with art restitution rlaims will be on the agenda of the Upper Chamber (Bundesrat) of the German parliament this Friday. Ahead of the session, Thomas Kutschaty, the Minister of Justice for North Rhine Westphalia went on the record in an interview yesterday with news magazine FOCUS, stating that the Bavarian would “certainly not be approved” in parliament in its current form. Kutschaty on the one hand voiced constitutional concerns and on the other hand criticized the Bavarian approach on the burden of proof. It would be almost impossible, he said, of the heirs of Nazi victims, to provide evidence as to the ownership of lost art. Like many critics, however, he has – so far, at least – remained silent on the alternatives he would propose.