Germany hopes to exhibit some works from Gurlitt collection

AP News
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 1:25 PM

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's culture minister hopes to put some works from the trove of priceless art accumulated by the late collector Cornelius Gurlitt on exhibition next year.

Der Spiegel magazine reported Friday that the plan is for an exhibition opening at the end of 2016 at the Bundeskunsthalle museum in Bonn. Culture Minister Monika Gruetters' office confirmed the report but said it couldn't give further details.

Der Spiegel said the exhibition could contain works that may have been taken by the Nazis from Jewish owners. It quoted Gruetters as saying that, while organizers must show "respect for the victims," she hopes for new clues on the works' origins.

Her office noted that a 2014 agreement under which Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Bern agreed to accept Gurlitt's bequest of his collection allows for works that were looted, or whose background hasn't been cleared up, to be "exhibited with the aim of full transparency."

Gurlitt died in May 2014, a few months after it emerged that authorities had seized some 1,400 items at his Munich apartment while investigating a tax case in 2012. Officials have been checking whether several hundred of the works were seized from their owners by the Nazis.

A task force set up to examine the provenance of works in the collection so far has determined that four pieces were looted by the Nazis, and the first two were handed over to their rightful owners' heirs in May.

That task force is to wrap up its work at the end of this year. Gruetters wants the government-backed German Lost Art Foundation to take charge of any further research efforts that may be required.