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MUSEUM

Nazi-era art collection to stay in Switzerland

The Museum of Fine Arts in Bern has been recognized as the legal owner of a Nazi-era art hoard it inherited from German collector Cornelius Gurlitt.

Nazi-era art collection to stay in Switzerland
The Museum of Fine Art (Kunstmuseum) in Bern Photo: Onno de Wit

A court in Munich on Thursday rejected a case brought by a cousin of Gurlitt who had sought to overturn his will, according to news reports.

Uta Werner had contested Gurlitt's soundness of mind when he wrote the will naming the Bern museum as his sole heir.

But the court said it was not convinced by the argument that Gurlitt was suffering from dementia.

Gurlitt died in 2014, leaving behind more than 1,500 artworks, including valuable paintings and sketches by Picasso, Monet, Chagall and other masters.

But there were suspicions many of the works had been stolen from their Nazi-era owners.

Gurlitt’s father was an art dealer tasked by Adolf Hitler with helping to plunder great works from museums and Jewish collectors – many of whom died in the gas chambers.

It came as a surprise when Gurlitt bequeathed his entire collection to the Bernese art gallery, known as the Kunstmuseum Bern.

The museum accepted the collection in 2014 after mulling the ethical implications, but left some 500 works of dubious provenance in Germany to allow a government-appointed task force to complete its research on identifying the heirs.

The task force concluded last year that one percent of the artworks could be shown without doubt to have been stolen from Jewish families under the Third Reich or sold under duress.

The Bernese gallery reported in April that it was planning to exhibit works from the estate in the 2016-2017 winter season, in parallel with a similar exhibition at a museum in Bonn, Germany.

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ART

Art project shows the scope of Switzerland’s extraordinary glacier loss

An art project has shed light on the sheer scope of Switzerland’s glacier loss in recent years due to climate change.

Art project shows the scope of Switzerland’s extraordinary glacier loss
Photo: Studio Oefner/ETH Zurich

The project looks to “visualise 140 years of glacial retreat through an interactive network”. 

READ: Swiss glaciers shrink ten percent in five years 

The project is led by Swiss artist Fabian Oefner, who has reproduced the receding glaciers using neon lines which contrast with images of the glaciers as they currently stand. 

In a collaboration with with Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and Google mapped the shrinking glaciers over time. 

READ: Swiss 'glacier initiative' collects 120,000 signatures 

“Im interested in the concept of time and how change shapes the way we see reality”, Oefner says. 

Using drones equipped with LEDs, Oefner used real representations of glacial loss as the frame for the project. 

“I looked at maps where you could see the glacier in its current state and dozens of lines drawn on the map in front of it. Each of these lines represented where the glacier was in the past few decades,” Oefner said. 

“I wanted to find a way to transport the scientific data and bring it into reality”. 

 

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