Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a World War II-era collector, has launched a website in defense of his controversial art trove. The confiscation of his two stashes drew media attention in recent months.
Art collector Cornelius Gurlitt went on the offensive on Monday, unveiling a website which defends the origins of his art collection currently under police scrutiny. The move came less than a week after authorities in Salzburg, Austria discovered 60 more works of art in Gurlitt's residence there. The second stash included paintings from Monet, Renoir and Picasso.
"Some of what has been reported about my collection isn't true or isn't entirely true. For this reason, my attorney, my advisors and I want to make information available [on this website] in order to base the discussion about my collection and myself in fact," Gurlitt wrote in a letter to readers on his website on Monday.
In November, German authorities revealed they had found more than 1,400 paintings at the 81-year-old's apartment in Munich in 2012. The trove - worth roughly 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) - contained nearly 500 works that might have been stolen or confiscated by the Nazis.
Gurlitt's father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, had been a prominent art dealer during the 1930s when the Nazis came to power. During that time, the regime commissioned him with selling "degenerate art" confiscated from museums for being un-German or of a "Jewish-Bolshevist" nature.
"Cornelius Gurlitt considers it his duty to preserve and maintain his father's collection," his attorneys said in a statement on Monday, adding "and yet, [he] is open to historic responsibility."
kms/hc (AFP, dpa)