Producer
Director
Maurice Philip Remy
Editor
Genre
Documentary
Broadcaster
arte, ZDFinfo
Length
1 x 52'
Format
16:9
Year
2014
The Strange Mr Gurlitt

The case is as exciting as a thriller: In 2010, a man catches the eye of German customs officers when crossing the border from Switzerland. He is carrying cash, just under the permitted limit. The man's name is Cornelius Gurlitt and he is 79 years old at the time. The customs investigators decide to put a tail on him. When Gurlitt put a valuable expressionist painting up for auction the following year and it sold for almost a million euros, they obtained a search warrant for his flat in Munich. What the investigators discover there at the beginning of 2012 far exceeds their expectations: a huge art collection consisting of well over 1,000 paintings of all epochs of selected quality. To make matters worse, they come from the estate of Gurlitt's father Hildebrand, who traded in art during the Nazi era. The suspicion arose that they were "looted art", and the collection was confiscated.

The 52-minute documentary "Der seltsame Herr Gurlitt" offers the most comprehensive analysis of the case to date. The film provides surprising answers based on investigative research in a manner that is as unagitated as it is conciliatory. The drama surrounding the Gurlitt collection is illuminated from a completely new perspective. The film also reveals the true story of the father Hildebrand Gurlitt and comes to an astonishingly positive conclusion about the alleged "Nazi looted art dealer". Internal protocols prove that the entire case hangs by a thread of alleged tax sins that have not been proven to date. The research into the Gurlitt collection is only symbolic. Those involved know that in most cases it can no longer be clarified who the previous owners of the paintings were.

„Der seltsame Herr Gurlitt“ ist eine Geschichte von Unwissenheit und Unsicherheit im Umgang mit der Vergangenheit, dem Unvermögen sie zu bewältigen und letztlich der Unmöglichkeit, allen Gerechtigkeit widerfahren zu lassen.

Erstausstrahlung: Mittwoch, den 19.03.2014 um 21:50 Uhr auf arte

The Strange Mr Gurlitt

The case is as exciting as a thriller: In 2010, a man catches the eye of German customs officers when crossing the border from Switzerland. He is carrying cash, just under the permitted limit. The man's name is Cornelius Gurlitt and he is 79 years old at the time. The customs investigators decide to put a tail on him. When Gurlitt put a valuable expressionist painting up for auction the following year and it sold for almost a million euros, they obtained a search warrant for his flat in Munich. What the investigators discover there at the beginning of 2012 far exceeds their expectations: a huge art collection consisting of well over 1,000 paintings of all epochs of selected quality. To make matters worse, they come from the estate of Gurlitt's father Hildebrand, who traded in art during the Nazi era. The suspicion arose that they were "looted art", and the collection was confiscated.

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