In 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
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.
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.