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.
One of the posts here on the Gurlitt case was entitled Litigation is Coming Closer in Gurlitt Case. Nicholas O’Donnell reports in the Art Law Report today that the first case has indeed been brought – by David Toren in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Free State of Bavaria and the Federal Republic of Germany. Nick’s post contains a summary of the facts, a discussion of the jurisdictional issues under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and a link to the complaint.