Nazi Art Hoarder Dies at 81
Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a notorious Nazi art dealer whose secret collection included many Third Reich looted pieces, died yesterday in Germany at age 81.
Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network have been following the story of the Nazi art hoarder for months. Unfortunately, Gurlitt's untimely death may further confuse the final restitution of many of the stolen works.
He passed away in his Munich apartment, which was used to store 1,400 valuable works of art including Picasso, Matisse and Monet masterpieces said to be worth in excess of 800 million euros.
A press release sent by his spokesman, Stephan Holzinger on Tuesday afternoon stated, “With the death of Cornelius Gurlitt, the investigation also ends".
Before his death,Gurlitt had agreed that if works were shown to have been looted by the Nazis they should be returned to the heirs of their rightful owners.
Many people, particularly Jewish groups feel that the works should be liable to restitution. They were recently put online and given a limited period for claimant's families to come forward.
Born in 1932, in Hamburg, Gurlitt survived the bombing raids during World War II.
His father was of Jewish origin, and was used by the Nazis in a collaborative scheme to liquidate Jewish-owned artworks. The elder Gurlitt appraised art for sale to subsidize the German war effort.
Cornelius Gurlitt is survived by a younger sister, Benita.
A cousin, Ekkeheart Gurlitt, stated in a November 2013 interview, "My whole family had a lot of paintings but we gave them to Cornelius because he had connections and the possibility to hide them."
Germs authorities will now decide who will assume ownership of 60 of the most important artworks, as well as, additional paintings and drawings found in his Salzburg home in Bad Aussee.
Gurlitt had recently been hospitalized for a heart operation and was sent home to recover.