A relative the of late Cornelius Gurlitt, the famed German Art collector, has lodged a claim Friday for his inheritance, a Nazi-era art hoard known as the ‘Munich Art Trove’ which he Gurlitt had bequested to a Swiss museum, a spokesman said. The surprise move came just days before the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern is expected to reveal whether it accepts the inheritance of the spectacular trove of more than 1,000 pieces amassed during the Nazi era.
Uta Werner, 86, who is a cousin of Cornelius Gurlitt, has appealed to a court in Munich to be recognised as the collector’s heir, with the backing of her children and some other family members, the spokesman said in a statement.
With the Kunstmuseum Bern about to decide whether or not it will accept the collection Cornelius Gurlitt bequeathed it in his will, a psychological evaluation has also cast doubt over the Nazi-looted art hoarder’s mental capacity during his final weeks.
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.
Before the aged collector died, Gurlitt had struck a deal with the German government to help track down the rightful owners of the artwork. A day after his death, the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern said it had been astonished to discover that it was named as the recipient of his collection in his will.
The museum is to announce on Monday at a news conference in Berlin whether it will accept the bequest. The spokesman for Uta Werner said the family had set out plans last week to ensure “unconditional” return of any Nazi looted artworks and to restitute works of transparent provenance – if the court backed their motion.