Kunstmuseum Bern’s Gurlitt Research Unit Receives Private Donation

Cornelius Gurlitt

A Bern patron has pledged a “seven-figure sum” to help the Kunstmuseum Bern create a research unit dedicated to the study and documentation of Cornelius Gurlitt’s controversial bequest that could result in further restitution of the ‘Munich Art Trove’

The museum’s president Christoph Schäublin has described the donor as a local lady who has chosen to remain anonymous, and as a “friend” of the institution. She has already supported it on other occasions – this was stated in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger,

The Kunstmuseum announced on Monday that it will accept the extraordinary collection amassed by the late Gurlitt, despite the fact that several pieces are thought to be Nazi loot.

Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland has agreed to accept artworks from the collection of Cornelius Gurlitt’s 1,300 works that has been bequeathed to the museum by German collector. Christoph Schaeublin of the Bern Art Museum told a news conference in Berlin that the museum would accept parts of the artworks bequeathed by Cornelius Gurlitt, who died in May at the age of 81. The Swiss institution said it would make every effort to return the looted pieces to their rightful heirs.

A full list of the works, varying in number from 1,300 to 1,600 depending on the source, will be released by the museum later today.

“The truth is that the collection is overwhelming,” Kunstmuseum director Matthias Frehner told Tages Anzeiger. “Of course, not all these works are highly significant, but some are.”

The museum has currently declined to give a total value estimate, but Frehner revealed some key pieces in the bequest, including Paul Cézanne Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1847), Claude Monet’s Waterloo Bridge in the Fog (1903), a “marine” by Edouard Manet, an important pointillist piece by Paul Signac, and a rare self-portrait by Gustave Courbet, The Apostle.

The research unit will be set up as soon as is possible and will consist of two full-time posts for provenance researchers and archivists, although no date has been announced yet.


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