Gurlitt exhibition rescheduled

AMA 7 June 2016

BERN: The controversial exhibition of the Cornelius Gurlitt collection, partially gathering works stolen by the Nazis, has been put off pending the settlement of legal issues relating to the will of the mysterious German collector.

The Kunstmuseum in Bern and the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn jointly announced that works by Picasso, Claude Monet and Marc Chagall, bequeathed by Gurlitt, would be presented to the public in a “historically and scientifically contextualised framework”. However, a complaint was lodged by a distant cousin of Cornelius Gurlitt, Uta Werner, who contests the mental health and reliability of her relative when he wrote his will. After losing a first court case, Uta Werner has decided to appeal the decision, thus extending the procedure. A court in Munich now has the task of making a pronouncement on the collector’s mental health prior to his death in 2014. First-person testimonies by those who knew him will help determine whether Gurlitt was acting consciously when he wrote his final wishes. Psychological assessments of the old man’s last letters seem to show great vulnerability, as well as a tendency towards paranoia.

For Uta Werner, the aim is to prevent the collection from joining the Kunstmuseum in Bern, as stipulated in Gurlitt’s will. She claims to be the legitimate heir to this collection worth several millions of dollars, discovered in 2013 shortly before Cornelius Gurlitt’s death in 2014. In the face of this legal setback, the two museums are optimistic: “Both museums are working continually and are pursuing the plans. The exhibition is planned for 2017.”
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