Selasa, 12 November 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Nazi art recluse isn't 'missing'


More lost art surfaces in Stuttgart, Germany, as magazines spot Cornelius Gurlitt who reportedly hid £1bil (RM5.1bil) of masterpieces in Munich flat.

CORNELIUS Gurlitt, the man who hid a Nazi treasure trove of lost masterpieces in his Munich, Germany, apartment, is still alive and residing at the same address, according to two separate reports.

Reporters from French magazine Paris Match claim to have confronted Gurlitt in a local shopping centre after seeing him leave the modernist apartment block in Munich's Schwabing district. Gurlitt is said to have brushed aside an interview request with the enigmatic phrase: "Approval that comes from the wrong side is the worst thing that could happen."

The accompanying picture shows an elderly man with neatly combed hair with a shopping trolley. Paris Match, which usually focuses on European royalty, describes Gurlitt as having an "elegant demeanour" and that "his piercing blue eyes (were) filled with fear and anger".

A letter signed by Cornelius Gurlitt published in the new edition of Der Spiegel , meanwhile, seems to support the theory that Gurlitt has simply continued to go about his old routines while the story of his hidden artworks has blown up around him.

Dated Nov 4, 2013, and sent from the address where the artworks were found, the letter asks the magazine to refrain from citing his name in future.

It appears that the 79-year-old has mixed up Der Spiegel, Germany's biggest-selling magazine, with its rival publication Focus, which broke the story.

On Monday, Nov 4, when Gurlitt wrote his letter, Der Spiegel had yet to publish an article on the Munich art haul.

On Tuesday, Bavarian customs authorities had said that they didn't know Gurlitt's whereabouts, fuelling speculation he may be dead. There is currently no police search warrant for Gurlitt, though many will seek answers from him in the coming weeks.

Information released by the authorities so far has raised more questions than it managed to answer. It remains unclear how many of the works were originally looted by the Nazis or confiscated from national galleries as "degenerate art".

Rather than having vanished during the Nazi era, many of the artworks appear to have passed through the hands of allied forces, albeit temporarily. Some of the pictures in the Gurlitt collection were exhibited in New York and San Francisco in 1956, claims Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

The self-portrait by Otto Dix, meanwhile, which art historian Meike Hoffmann earlier hailed as "unknown", in fact appears on a property card in the National Archive in Washington.

In another development, police on Saturday confiscated a further 22 artworks from a flat near Stuttgart, owned by Nikolaus Frassle, a brother-in-law of Gurlitt. – Guardian News & Media

Related story:

Germany could challenge ownership of Nazi-looted art


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