Cornelius Gurlitt has died at the age of 81, following a heart operation and several weeks in hospital.
In 2012, more than 1,400 works were seized by the German authorities from his Munich apartment, many of them priceless pieces by Chagall, Matisse and Picasso, amongst others. The collection had been inherited from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt (1895-1956), a well-known gallerist and art dealer who dealt in “degenerate art” during the Second World War – often forcibly removing works from Jewish families’ homes.
The Gurlitt affair has been marked by various developments, particularly in February 2014, when a new hoard of works was discovered in Cornelius’s second home in Salzburg (Austria). With no known inheritor of the collection, the question remains as to what will happen to the works now, and whether this complex and gripping scandal will at last be resolved.