Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Documents from Gurlitt’s estate now accessible at the German Federal Archives

Date 2016.04.08

Berlin, 8 April 2016. Doc­u­ments and pho­tos from Cor­nelius Gurlitt’s Salzburg es­tate can now be viewed at the Ger­man Fed­er­al Archives. By mak­ing them pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble, the “Gurlitt Prove­nance Re­search” project aims to en­hance the trans­paren­cy of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the art trove.

The doc­u­ments in ques­tion com­prise some 600 his­toric pho­tos dat­ing be­tween 1936 and 1941, found in pho­to al­bums at the Ham­burg art gallery pre­vi­ous­ly owned by the art deal­er Hilde­brand Gurlitt (1936-1941), Cor­nelius Gurlitt’s fa­ther, along with an­oth­er 1,800 pho­tos of art­works. On the re­verse side of nu­mer­ous pho­tos, one can find ex­pert as­sess­ments or com­ments which are valu­able for prove­nance re­search. The doc­u­ments in­clude two lists with price es­ti­mates of a graph­ic art col­lec­tion by Roger De­la­palme – one from 1941 and the oth­er un­dat­ed – is­sued by the French ex­pert Fran­cois Max-Kann. These were dis­cov­ered among 17 box­es of doc­u­ments found in Cor­nelius Gurlitt’s house in Salzburg.

On 24 March 2016, 184 art­works, dis­cov­ered at Gurlitt’s Salzburg res­i­dence, were added to the Lost Art Database.

Ac­cord­ing to Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion­er for Cul­ture and the Me­dia Prof. Moni­ka Grüt­ters:
“This rep­re­sent an­oth­er im­por­tant step to­wards achiev­ing the great­est de­gree of trans­paren­cy. I be­lieve this is es­pe­cial­ly im­por­tant as it builds con­fi­dence in the re­search find­ings, and we owe that to the vic­tims and their de­scen­dants.”

The ma­te­ri­als can be viewed in line with the stan­dard terms of use in the read­ing rooms of the Ger­man Fed­er­al Archives in Berlin, Koblenz and Freiburg.

In co­op­er­a­tion with the In­sti­tute für Zeit­geschichte, the “Gurlitt Prove­nance Re­search” project is cur­rent­ly work­ing at the Zen­tralin­sti­tut für Kun­st­geschichte in Mu­nich to in­ven­to­ry and cat­a­logue Cor­nelius Gurlitt’s writ­ten es­tate in or­der to make it avail­able to prove­nance re­searchers. The Ger­man Fed­er­al Archives are sup­port­ing the project by dig­i­tal­is­ing some 6,000 writ­ten doc­u­ments from the es­tate. These will be made pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble start­ing in mid-May 2016.

The Ger­man Lost Art Foun­da­tion took up the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Gurlitt art trove in Jan­uary 2016 af­ter es­tab­lish­ing the “Gurlitt Prove­nance Re­search” project, fi­nanced by the Ger­man Fed­er­al Com­mis­sion­er for Cul­ture and the Me­dia. The project will con­duct prove­nance re­search on 680 works, which the “Schwabinger Kun­st­fund” task force hadn’t con­clu­sive­ly in­ves­ti­gat­ed. Pri­or­i­ty will be giv­en to 189 art­works, for which there is rea­son to be­lieve they were con­fis­cat­ed through Nazi per­se­cu­tion, or for which resti­tu­tion claims have been made.

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