May 09, 2014
By Michael Kramer
A museum in Switzerland has inherited one of the most controversial collections of art in recent history.
The reclusive collector Cornelius Gurlitt – who died earlier this month – has named Kunstmuseum Bern as the “unrestricted and unfettered sole heir” of the priceless hoard of artworks.
The treasures were assembled by Gurlitt’s father Hildebrand – who acted as an art dealer for the nazis.
Several of the pieces are suspected of being looted by the nazis from their Jewish owners during the Second World War.
The Swiss museum says the news came “like a bolt from the blue” because it had never had any dealings with Gurlitt.
The collection amounts to more than 1,000 rare artworks and includes paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall.