Stolen art hoarding son of Nazi art dealer living in fantasy


link to la times is broken :slight_smile:


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Thank you!

I’m picturing this guy for some reason.


If he’s 80 today, then he was born in 1933 - he was about 4 years old when the Nazi’s put on their “degenerate” art show in 1937, and he was only about 12 years old at the end of the 2nd world war. So I might actually believe him when he says he wasn’t particularly responsible for acquiring the paintings.


That brings up some good points in general. It kind of explains his attachment. Not in a way that means he should get to keep the art because seriously. But with the math in front of me, I’m a little less inclined to call him a complete jackass.

I wonder how many more caches like this are roving around still.

I don’t think that anybody is claiming that he looted them(as you say, the timeline is pretty absurd); but that he’s sitting on a cache of stolen goods inherited from dear old dad, who acquired them by being an enthusiastic Nazi at a strategic time and place.

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No, he’s not living in fantasy but in Germany.

This guy could have a point where he shouldn’t and it’s a shame.

And oh the due process of wtf they’re playing.

It looks to me like the prosecutors were planning from a victorious press conference backwards.


There is a good chance that he will get much of it back. Understandably the media coverage focuses on the sexy “stolen Nazi art” angle, but much of the collection seems have been owned legitimately. For other works it is possible that his father’s position allowed him to acquire them under shady, but not necessarily illegal circumstances.

What? Oh, ok then…

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He certainly had nothing to do with acquiring the paintings.

This guy is a hermit who inherited the collection from his parents and (from what I’ve read) never learned to love anyone or anything except “his pictures.” It seems pretty clear that something is a little off with the guy, but I don’t think he had malevolent intentions. It seems more likely that he just suffers from some combination of extreme selfishness and/or paranoia.

His father was a modern art expert and one of the few art dealers allowed to traffic in “degenerate” art during the Third Reich, when he probably acquired most of the collection.

And even his dad may not have done anything wrong per se. He almost certainly benefited from Nazi policies (both general bans on “degenerate” art and confiscation of Jewish property) that made it difficult for others to hold onto these artworks, But he wasn’t the source of the duress that made others give them up. It’s very hard to know whether he was a greedy Nazi collaborator opportunist who took advantage of others’ duress to amass a spectacular collection of his own. Or whether he was a selfless savior, spending his own money to preserve works that the Nazis might otherwise have destroyed. The truth is probably some combination.

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Both NYT and WSJ have done very interesting articles about the whole saga, going into some detail on the history of the collection (at least some of which was seized by the Allies after the war and eventually given back to the senior Mr. Gurlitt):

NYT: “For Son of a Nazi-Era Dealer, a Private Life Amid a Tainted Trove of Art”

WSJ: “The Strange Tale of Nazis, Mr. Gurlitt and the Lost Masterpieces”

Nobody thinks he did the looting, but the fact that he kept their existence hidden supports the idea that he knew he wasn’t their rightful owner.


Or that the guy is a bit mental or quite possibly autistic. He might not even want the painting for their cash value–but rather as his stuff. Which bring up the issue of who would be the better caretaker of the items.



I heard that she was wearing a rather short skirt.

I mean what you’d hope to see happen is that they get put on display near to where the guy lives, and he gets a free museum ticket, (or it being Europe, the gallery is free) so that he can still go and appreciate those artworks, and also allow them to bring a bit of joy or learning to other people. I mean I really wonder who that guy is, what his life was like, why he would keep a secret like that for 70+ years? Personal greed? possibly … Shame at his father? possibly … Maybe he doesn’t appreciate their value and he’s just attached to them … We can’t really know what he was thinking or ascribe to his motives.

It seems reasonable to imagine that, for this guy, it’s not “a priceless collection of art,” it’s “the pretty pictures that my Dad left me when he died.” It doesn’t mean he has a right to keep them, but I don’t know that his behavior implies a guilty conscience.

Yeah – this was kind of a big deal when the Germanies reunited in regard to real estate. As the East German government had nationalized much of it, the question was who to give it back to. In one hand it made sense to give it back to the family of the last known owner, but was this fair when that owner acquired it at a small price from fleeing Jews or what not who were in no position to argue pricing?