BERLIN — Fresh mysteries and marvels of the art trove amassed by a Nazi-era art dealer and kept secret for decades unfurled on Thursday when the Swiss museum that inherited the collection revealed all 1,600 or so works to the world for the first time.
The catalogue includes the first glimpse at 250 works — including fine oil paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Gauguin and Pissarro — that the reclusive Cornelius Gurlitt, who died in March at age 81, had squirreled away in a house he owned in Salzburg, Austria.
The list of those works was heavy on French masters, but it also included two oil paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder, a river landscape and a still life; an unusual Max Ernst collage; and lithographs by Edvard Munch.
Though art historians from German task force have pored over the Munich works for months, the Salzburg hoard was revealed only in February 2014.
Mr. Gurlitt bequeathed the entire collection compiled by his father, Hildebrand, one of four Nazi-era art dealers allowed to buy and sell plundered art, to the Kunstmuseum in Bern, Switzerland, which sigNnd an agreement with the German authorities regulating the transfer of works and investigation of their provenance.
Only works deemed free of suspicion that they were confiscated from private owners, or forcibly sold below market value, will go to Switzerland. Any other pieces will remain in Germany at an undisclosed location where art historians have been cataloging each work.
GREED OR THE RIGHT THING TO DO? DOESN’T SOUND LIKE ANYTHING WAS DIFFICULT IN THE DECISION EXCEPT PLANNING FOR HOW MUCH MONEY TO MAKE OFF THE EXHIBITIONS.
The Kunstmuseum said Thursday that it was making the lists of the collection“in the interests of transparency.”
The president of the museum’s board, Christoph Schäublin, said in accepting the collection on Monday that it was “anything but easy,” given its history, and he and Monika Grütters, Germany’s top federal official for culture, stressed that if there was any doubt about the provenance of a work it would stay in Germany.
The Salzburg works included Cézanne’s rendering of his beloved Mont Ste.-Victoire, dated 1897, and a 1902 Paris cityscape by Pissarro, titled “The Louvre Seen From Pont Neuf.” The sole Monet in the Salzburg trove was one of his views of Waterloo Bridge, this one from 1903. The Manet was a seascape. The Gauguin was titled in the Bern list as “People Lying Down in Candlelight,” from 1893.
WHY NO CROSS REFERENCING WITH THE GERMAN LOST ART ‘DATABASE? RATHER STRANGE!
The 195-page list of works found in Munich was not cross-referenced with 465 works that have been listed THE GERMAN SITE LOSTART.DE? LOSTART.DE, for months in an effort to track down any potential claimants or heirs.