TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

German collector loved art trove

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 8:42 p.m.
 

BERLIN — The recluse German collector who kept a priceless trove of art, possibly including works stolen by the Nazis, hidden for a half century says he did so because he “loved” them. Now he wants them back.

Cornelius Gurlitt told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published on Sunday that he wanted to protect the collection built by his late father, Hildebrand, an art dealer commissioned by the Nazis to sell works that Adolf Hitler's regime wanted to get rid of.

Bavarian authorities suspect the elder Gurlitt may have acquired pictures taken from Jews by the Nazis — and this may lead to restitution claims by the original owners or their heirs.

In his first extensive interview since the case was revealed two weeks ago, Gurlitt told Der Spiegel that everybody needs something to love. “And I loved nothing more in life than my pictures,” the magazine quoted him as saying.

The death of his parents and sister were less painful to him than the loss of the 1,406 paintings, prints and drawings by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse and Max Liebermann that authorities hauled out of his apartment last year, he told the magazine.

Der Spiegel said a reporter spent several days interviewing the collector while he traveled from his home in Munich to visit a doctor in another city last week.

Officials are investigating whether Gurlitt may have “misappropriated” the pictures or committed tax offenses in connection with them. However, a spokesman for Augsburg prosecutors, who are handling the case, said last week that Germany's 30-year statute of limitations may prove to be a stumbling block.

Hildebrand Gurlitt died in 1956, and his wife, Helene, died in 1967. Officials were unaware of their son's huge collection until a chance customs check three years ago led them to the Munich apartment.

Authorities in Bavaria and Berlin kept the find secret for more than a year and a half. But since the case was revealed by the German magazine Focus two weeks ago, they are under pressure to find a solution that will prevent legal obstacles from standing in the way of rightful claims to the art — particularly if Holocaust survivors or heirs of those persecuted by the Nazis are involved.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Comets hold life building blocks
  2. Al-Qaida branch in Syria threatens U.S.-backed forces
  3. Vibrantly colored mural spread across 200 homes in central Mexico city
  4. Bin Laden relatives among crash casualties
  5. Talks fail to yield accord in Pacific
  6. Taliban fracture outcome unclear
  7. Zimbabwe suspends hunts amid outcry over lion’s death
  8. Senate to grill United Nations agency chief Amano on Iran nuclear pact
  9. Al-Qaida group in Syria targeted by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes
  10. Afghan intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead 2 years
  11. Experimental Ebola vaccine could stop virus in West Africa