Nazi era art to arrive in June and go on display in Bern

Artworks belonging to the controversial Nazi-era Gurlitt collection will soon be arriving at their new home in the Swiss capital, Bern.

Nazi era art to arrive in June and go on display in Bern
The works will go on display later this year. Photo: AFP?Fabrice Coffrini

The city’s Museum of Fine Arts, or Kunstmuseum Bern, said the first pieces would begin arriving in June, according to news agencies.

A museum spokesperson, Maria-Teresa Cano, was quoted as saying 200 pieces would be in the consignment delivered from storage in Germany. Many were in poor condition.

“We will not receive any works suspected of having being looted,” Cano said, addressing concerns that many of the works had been stolen from their Nazi-era owners.

The gallery plans to exhibit the works in November, in a joint exhibition with the Bundeskunsthalle federal art museum in Bonn.

The Bernese museum director Nina Zimmer said the pieces included good examples of classic, modern painting, including original expressionist paintings of the Bridge and Blue Rider schools.

The works are mainly drawings, watercolours, and prints, with very few paintings.

Following a lengthy legal battle, the Bernese art gallery was finally recognized last year as the legal owner of the art hoard it inherited from German collector Cornelius Gurlitt.

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

His 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.

The museum accepted the collection in 2014, but left some 500 works of dubious provenance in Germany to allow a government-appointed task force to identify the heirs.

The task force concluded 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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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”.