Oct 8, 2014 8:46 AM
Swiss museum to decide next month on art trove
The Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) A Swiss museum said Wednesday that it expects to decide late next month whether to accept a priceless collection of long-hidden artworks bequeathed by German collector Cornelius Gurlitt.
Gurlitt, who died in May, designated the Kunstmuseum Bern as the sole heir to his collection. A decision on whether to accept the bequest is expected at a Nov. 26 meeting of its board of trustees, museum spokeswoman Ruth Gilgen said.
The museum had six months to make its decision, starting from the formal opening of Gurlitt's will.
German authorities in 2012 seized 1,280 pieces from Gurlitt's apartment while investigating a tax case, including works by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall.
Shortly before he died, Gurlitt reached a deal with the German government to check whether hundreds of works were looted from Jewish owners by the Nazis. Authorities say that deal is binding on any heirs.
Separately, the German Cabinet on Wednesday approved plans to set up a government-backed center called the German Lost Art Foundation, which will bring together existing research and coordination facilities and streamline the handling of the search for looted art.
The foundation will be based in the eastern city of Magdeburg and will start work later this year, government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said.
She added that the decision "makes clear again that Germany is facing up to its special responsibility to clear up the Nazis' looting of art."