November 13, 2013

Gurlitt Art Collection: Paris Match Journalists Find Cornelius Gurlitt in his neighborhood -- just three days after Augsburg prosecutor denies knowing the whereabouts of the target of his tax evasion case

Two photographs credited to Best Image/Vantagenews.co.uk,
published by the Telegraph online of Cornelius Gurlitt
'seen for the first time in public shopping at a supermarket
 in Munich'. Paris Match photo credits Goran Gajanin. 
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin,
 ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Three days after Bavarian officials denied knowing the whereabouts of Cornelius Gurlitt, two journalists from Paris Match reported and photographed Gurlitt shopping near his flat in Munich ("EXLUSIF. Trésor nazi: Paris Match retrouvé Cornelius Gurlitt"). At a press conference on November 5, Augsburg chief prosecutor Reinhard Nemetz, heading an investigation of suspicion of tax evasion, would not confirm if Gurlitt was even alive.

Paris Match's Berlin Correspondents, David Le Bailly and Denis Trierweiler, wrote they found the "élégante" Gurlitt on Friday, November 8, continuing his habits in the Schwabing district near his apartment. Gurlitt responded to a question from the journalists which they reported in French: "Une approbation qui vient du mauvais côté est la pire des choses qui puisse arriver". Gurlitt's quote, as retold in English by Colin Freeman for the Telegraph ("First pictures of Cornelius Gurlitt, pensioner accused over Nazi-era art stash", November 12), was translated into English as: "Approval that comes from the wrong side is the worst thing that can happen".

Last week, when Bavarian prosecutors held a press conference after revelations in Focus Magazine about a 'Nazi art hoard', Gurlitt's whereabouts were reportedly unknown. As of November 8th, though, it appears he was shopping for groceries and still living in the same flat (or at least the same area) from which Bavarian customs officers took 3 days to remove 1,400 works of art in February 2012 in an investigation related to tax evasion.

The following sources documented Bavarian authorities denial of Gurlitt's residence at the Augsburg press conference (Augsburg is a 35-minute train ride north of Munich):
The mystery around Gurlitt himself, meanwhile, has thickened. The whereabouts of the 80-year-olld are not known, said the customs authorities. When asked by one journalist if Gurlitt was alive, Augsburg chief prosecutor Reinhard Nemetz said he could not comment. "Picasso, Matisse and Dix among works found in Munich's Nazi art stash", Philip Oltermann in Berlin, theguardian, Nov. 5.
Of the whereabouts of Mr. Gurlitt himself, nothing is known, the officials said. Mr. Nemetz said that he had been questioned after the paintings were found, and that investigation under the tax law was continuing. But there was no reason to detain the elderly man, and authorities do not know where he is, Mr. Nemetz said. "German Officials Provide Details on Looted Art Trove," Melissa Eddy, November 5, originally published in The New York Times and since revised.
Senior public prosecutor Reinhard Nemetz said Mr. Gurlitt's current location was unknown to the authorities. Neighbours at Mr. Gurlitt's apartment have reportedly not seen the white-haired 80-year-old -- who has an Austrian passport -- since summer. "Lost Nazi art: Unknown Chagall among paintings in Munich Flat", Louise Barnett, Berlin. November 5.
The paintings were discovered stacked between dirty plates and cans of food past their sell-by date, in the run-down apartment of the reclusive 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of an art collector who was yesterday said to have disappeared without a trace. "He could be anywhere in Germany. We think he may have access to unlimited funds," a Munich customs spokesman said. "Search is on for second cache of art confiscated by the Nazis", Tony Paterson, Berlin, The Independent.

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