Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cornelius Gurlitt Collection: Reconstructing Collecting Histories

Philipp Jedicke 'Task force investigating art trove inherited from Nazi collector achieved 'embarrassing' results' Deutsche Welle, 26.11.2015
Since 2013, a task force, soon to be disbanded, has sought to clarify ownership of the artwork found in Cornelius Gurlitt's apartment. Now people are asking: what has it achieved, and where do we go from here? [...] Berggreen-Merkel's team of researchers has been able to determine the exact provenience of four works, and a fifth was mentioned at the parliament hearing. Regarding slightly over 500 of a total of 1,497 works found in Schwabing and Salzburg, the task force rules out "appropriation as a result of Nazi persecution." Clarifying the origins of the rest has proven impossible. Regarding 104 works, 114 concrete claims and 300 requests from Germany and abroad have been filed with the task force.
The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" criticised the team suggesting that auction houses are able "to determine proveniences within 48 hours." I'd say that "determine" is perhaps not always the right word here....

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