Cornelius Gurlitt′s art collection to move to Swiss museum | News | DW | 15.12.2016
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Cornelius Gurlitt's art collection to move to Swiss museum

A regional appeals court in Munich ruled that Cornelius Gurlitt's art collection could be inherited by a museum in Bern, as stated in his will. The collection includes works by Beckmann, Cezanne and Munch.

A Munich regional appeals court ruled Thursday that art collector Cornelius Gurlitt's collection could be inherited by the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern, Switzerland.

The inheritance was included in Gurlitt's will before he died in May 2014. Gurlitt named the museum as the sole heir of his art collection, which was found in his apartment in Munich and home in Salzburg. More than 1,000 artworks were recovered in 2012 during a tax probe. Works that were found included those that were deemed "degenerate" by the Nazis and were stolen from Jews. Also among the collection of paintings, drawings and sketches were works by Max Beckmann, Paul Cezanne and Edvard Munch.

Uta Werner, a cousin of Gurlitt, challenged the will, and staked her claim to the art collection. Werner claimed Gurlitt was not mentally fit when he wrote his will just before his death. The court rejected Werner's argument.

"An incapability to make a will on the part of the deceased person at the time it was written has not been proved in the opinion of the court," said the superior regional court in a statement.

Thursday's decision confirmed a lower court's ruling that rejected Werner's belief. Thomas Pfaff, a representative for Werner, said the family has not decided whether they will pursue further legal action.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Bern expressed a "sigh of relief" at the decision. It will look into the origins of the works of art and plan exhibitions around the collection.

German Culture Minister Monika Grütters also welcomed the ruling. Grütters said the decision would establish ownership of the works. The Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn will also feature works from Gurlitt's collection in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern starting in 2017.

kbd/sms (AFP, AP, dpa)

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