Gurlitt, Cornelius

BORN 28 Dec 1932, Hamburg - DIED 6 May 2014, München, Bayern
BIRTH NAME Gurlitt, Rolf Nikolaus Cornelius
GRAVE LOCATION Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen: Nordfriedhof, Danziger Strasse (Feld 56)

Cornelius Gurlitt was the son of the museum director and art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt (1895-1956). His mother Helene Hanke (1895-1967) was dancer. He grew up in Hamburg. During the Second World War his family moved to Dresden and in 1945 they went to Bamberg. From 1946 to 1948 he was educated at a reform educational boarding school in Ober-Hambach in Hessen. After his father accepted the directorship of the Kunstvereins für die Rheinlande und Westfalen he attended the Max-Planck-Gymnasium in Düsseldorf where he graduated in 1953. He studied art history at the University of Cologne and at the same time he worked for the restoration studio of the Art Museum in Düsseldorf. In 1960 he left university and left Cologne, ineteding to live in Salzburg.

After the death of his parents he lived in seclusion in Munich. Most of the art collection of his father was believed to be lost in the war, but he kept it in his apartment and he occasionally sold items from it to cover his living expenses. In 2012 the collection of 1,280 works was discovered and confiscated by the public prosecutor's office from Augsburg on suspicion of embezzlement and tax crimes. There were also works of art in his house in Salzburg. Late in 2013 he was placed under temporary care because of health issues and he died on 6 May 2014.

He left his collection to the Kunstmuseum Bern Foundation is a will that he had written in January 2014. In 2016 the validity of the will was confirmed and the museum received the collection. In 2015 several restitutions to heirs of previous owners took place and research into the provenance of the works continued.

• Father: Gurlitt, Hildebrand
• Mother: Hanke, Helene


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


Cornelius Gurlitt (Kunstsammler) – Wikipedia

Gurlitt, Cornelius

Published: 22 Sep 2023
Last update: 22 Sep 2023