Cousins Now Claim Cornelius Gurlitt Was Mentally Unfit To Write Will

In the ongoing saga of the ‘Munch Art Trove’ and the Kunstmuseum Bern is about to decide whether or not it will accept the collection Cornelius Gurlitt bequeathed it in his will, a psychological evaluation has now cast doubt over the Nazi-looted art hoarder’s mental capacity during his final weeks, FAZ reported.

The evaluation portrays Gurlitt as vulnerable, paranoid, and schizophrenic; after it has emerged that Gurlitt’s cousins, Uta Werner and Dietrich Gurlitt, ordered a psychological evaluation after information taken from Gurlitt’s final letters and documents were taken into consideration. Dr. Helmut Hausner, the lawyer and senior consultant at the Centre for Psychiatry in Cham,who carried out the evaluation, concluded that “during the writing of his will on the 9.01.2014, Gurlitt suffered from mild dementia, a schizophrenic personality disorder, and a delusional disorder.” Reported Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The evaluation has also disclosed that it believed Gurlitt’s mental state was reflected by the fact that the collector was convinced that a “national socialist network was following him in order to gain access to his art collection.” Dr. Hausner claims that due to this paranoid condition; Gurlitt was denied “free will,” and therefore this would have significantly influenced his decision to bequeath his collection abroad to the Swiss museum.

“[a legal challenge] remains an option, although it is not currently being considered.” stated Wolfgang Seybold, a solicitor representing Gurlitt’s cousins Uta Werner and Dietrich Gurlitt, to FAZ.

Seybold has stated that should the Kunstmuseum Bern accept the collection, the Gurlitt family may seek an out of court settlement or sue for the release of individual paintings; he told the German daily. The Gurlitt family has previously insisted that, should they inherit the collection, they would restitute all suspected Nazi-looted artworks to their rightful owners or heirs. The collection has been known colloquially as the “Munich Art Trove,” and was collated by Cornelius Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand Gurlitt. Gurlitt senior was one of four art dealers entrusted with selling so-called degenerate art during the Nazi regime’s rule. Originally estimated at the value of nearly £700 million.

Finally, he deputy director of the Belvedere in Vienna; Alfred Weidinger, said in a statement to the Art Newspaper that in his opinion, the Kunstmuseum Bern had only one option: “to accept the bequest, not just the best pieces but the entire collection, and, after it has been investigated and restitution claims have been dealt with, to auction it all and to pass on the entire proceeds to a Jewish institution caring for Holocaust victims.”


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