Gurlitt, Hildebrand

BORN 15 Sep 1895, Dresden, Sachsen - DIED 9 Nov 1956, Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen
CAUSE OF DEATH car accident
GRAVE LOCATION Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen: Nordfriedhof, Danziger Strasse (Feld 56)

Hildebrandt Gurlitt was the son the art historian Cornelius Gurlitt. He served during the First World was as an officer. After the war he studied art history in Dresden, Berlin and Frankfurt am Main. He was promoted in 1924. In 1923 he married the dancer Helena Hanke (1895-1968) who was a student of Mary Wigman and known as Bambula. In 1932 their son Cornelius was born and in 1935 a daughter Nicolina, followed.

From 1925 to 1930 he was the director of the König-Albert-Museum in Zwickau. There he organised a Max Pechstein exhibition in 1925 and he also showed the work of Käthe Kollwitz, Emil Nolde and many other modern artists. He frequently sold paintings from the nineteenth century in order to be able to buy modern work. The local press disliked the modern artists and he was fired in 1930.

He moved to Hamburg to become managing director of the Kunstverein. In 1933 the nazis forced him to resign. This didn't stop the nazis of appointing him as a dealer for the Führermuseum in Linz and he traded modern art under their orders. As a member of the Commission for the Exploitation of Degenerate Art he sold the confiscated paintings abroad. His personal trading collection probably consisted of up to 1,500 items.

After the war he stated that his collection had been destroyed at his home in the Kaitzerstrasse during the bombing of Dresden. 115 pictures were returned t ohim because he acquired them lawfully. He continued his work as an art dealer until he died in a car accident in 1956. In 2013 it became clear that his collection had survived when it was made public that on 28 Feb 2012 1,406 works of art were found in the appartment of his son Cornelius in Munich, now worth more than a billion Euros.

• Father: Gurlitt, Cornelius
• Wife: Hanke, Helene (1923-1956, Dresden, Sachsen: Zionskirche)
• Sister: Gurlitt, Cornelia


The grave of Hildebrand and Cornelius Gurlitt at the Nordfriedhof, Düsseldorf.
Picture by Androom (17 Jul 2015)


Hildebrand Gurlitt – Wikipedia

Gürtler, Danny

Published: 19 May 2018
Last update: 06 Apr 2022