Cornelius Gurlitt, Hoarder of Nazi-Era Art, Dies

Max Klinger, "The Isle of Death (after Arnold Boecklin)" (1890), from Cornelius Gurlitt's collection (photo © Melder, Staatsanwaltschaft Augsburg) (via

Max Klinger, “The Isle of Death (after Arnold Boecklin)” (1890), from Cornelius Gurlitt’s collection (photo © Melder, Staatsanwaltschaft Augsburg) (via

Just a month after reaching an agreement with the German government, Cornelius Gurlitt, the octogenarian who was hoarding one of the biggest caches of Nazi-era art discovered since World War II, has died. A statement posted on Gurlitt’s website states:

Cornelius Gurlitt died this morning in his apartment in Schwabing, in the presence of a doctor. After a serious heart surgery and a week-long stay in a hospital, it was the request of the deceased to return to his apartment in Schwabing. There he was in nursing care and taken care off [sic] in recent weeks around the clock.

He was 81.

The cover of the November 18, 2013, issue of 'Der Spiegel,' featuring a photo of Gurlitt and an extensive interview inside (via

The cover of the November 18, 2013, issue of ‘Der Spiegel,’ featuring a photo of Gurlitt and an extensive interview inside (via

Cornelius’s father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was one of a handful of art dealers authorized by the Nazis to buy and sell modernist — aka “degenerate” — art during the 1930s and ’40s. In raids in 2012 and 2014, German authorities discovered nearly 1,500 artworks by the likes of Otto Dix and Marc Chagall stored away in Cornelius’s apartment in Munich and in a house he owned in Salzburg, Vienna, although the news only came to public light last fall. Gurlitt claimed that he had acquired all of the works legally, but restitution claims have been brought for some, and the German government has been conducting an ongoing investigation into the provenance of nearly 600 of them.

Gurlitt’s website says that “With the death of Cornelius Gurlitt end [sic] both the court-ordered care, as well as the investigation.” According to the New York Times, the collection is still in the hands of the German government research task force. Neither that obituary nor one in Bloomberg lists any surviving family members, although the online announcement of his passing sends sympathy “to the family of the deceased.”

By: Hyperallergic
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries

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