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Claude Monet (1840–1926), Waterloo Bridge, 1903. Oil on canvas, lined, 65 × 101.5 cm, www.lostart.de/532967. Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014. Provenance undergoing clarification / Currently no indications of being looted art.

BERN - Gurlitt Status Report is the title of two concurrent exhibitions with different thematic focuses. The Bundeskunsthalle and the Kunstmuseum Bern present works from the estate of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of the Third Reich art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt. The two closely correlated exhibitions shed light on the wider historical background and reflect the latest research into the ‘Gurlitt trove’. With a selection of some 200 works, the presentation in Bern focuses on the Nazi campaign against ‘degenerate’ art. The exhibition in Bonn, on the other hand, is devoted to works that were directly affected by the Nazi looting of art and to the fate of the persecuted artists, collectors and art dealers, most of whom were Jewish.

The Bundeskunsthalle shows a selection of some 250 works, most of which were expropriated during the Third Reich and whose provenance, in many cases, has not yet been fully established. A timeline with significant historical dates links the individual chapters of the exhibition and forms a chronological framework and backdrop for the events. The presentation sheds light on the mounting disenfranchisement of – mostly Jewish – artists collectors and art dealers. Their fate is illustrated by a series of biographical case studies.

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Max Beckmann (1884–1950), Zandvoort Seaside Café, 1934. Watercolour and gouache on laid paper, 49.8 × 64.8 cm, www.lostart.de/478550. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification.

It is extremely important that this chapter of the German – and consequently European – history is never forgotten. The Nazi art theft is still far from being resolved conclusively, and it absolutely has to be seen within its overall historical context, which includes the persecution, disfranchisement and dispossession perpetrated by the Nazi regime and, ultimately, the Holocaust,’ explains Rein Wolfs, director of the Bundeskunsthalle.

The exhibition at the Bundeskunsthalle is subdivided into five closely related chapters that shed light on the complex mechanisms of Nazi cultural policies and on the strategically organised Nazi art theft. At the same time, they trace Hildebrand Gurlitt’s ambivalent career and juxtapose it with biographies of victims of the Nazi regime. Several in-depth case studies of important individuals, whose lives are illustrated by works of art, texts, photographs and archival material, form stand-out units within the exhibition.

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François Boucher (1703–1770), Male Nude, N. d. Charcoal and pastel on laid paper, 38.2 × 25.5 cm, www.lostart.de/533092. Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification / Currently no indications of being looted art.

Thematically the five chapters focus on different periods of history. The time before the First World War and the Weimar Republic, Germany after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, especially the situation after1938 when the Führervorbehalt created the foundation for the unprecedented and systematically organised theft of art. During the Second World War (1939–1945), the focus is primarily on the activities in the German-occupied territories (especially on France) that had come under the sway of the Führervorbehalt in 1940.

At the end of the exhibition, we look at the immediate post-war period, how questions of restitution and responsibility are being handled, the role of institutionalised provenance research and our general awareness of the extreme complexity of this area. A special room in the exhibition is devoted to an ongoing discourse. Professionals and specialists in the field discuss the problems of the Gurlitt trove and the wider subject of looted art.

3 November 2017 to 11 March 2018

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Otto Griebel (1895–1972), Woman with Veil, 1926. Gouache on vellum paper, www.lostart.de/477898Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014 / Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), Crouching Woman, Ca. 1882. Marble, 33.5 x 27.5 x 18 cm, www.lostart.de/521802Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification / Currently no indications of being looted art.

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Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), Knight, Death and Devil, 1513. Copperplate engraving on laid paper, 24.8 × 19.2 cm, www.lostart.de/478046Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification / Currently no indications of being looted art.

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Shungyosai Ryukoku, Hyakunin Isshu, Bijinga (Young Woman sitting at a table,behind her a woman with a book in her hands), Early 19th century. Colour woodcut on Japan paper, 38.2 × 25.4 cm, www.lostart.de/ DE/Fund/478514Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Lucas Cranach der Jüngere (1472–1553) Workshop, The Christ Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist, 1540 (?). Tempera and oil on oak panel, 35.3 × 25.6 cm, www.lostart. de/DE/Fund/569109Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification / Currently no indications of being looted art.

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Johann Friedrich August Tischbein (1750–1812), Portrait of Frau von Krain, 1792. Pastel on parchment, 36.5 × 30 cm, www.lostart.de/DE/Fund/532958Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Edgar Degas (1834–1917), Woman Bathing, N. d. Brown wax, cork, 6.8 × 4.3 × 3.2 cm, www.lostart. de/EN/Fund/521800Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification / Currently no indications of being looted art.

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Wilhelm Lachnit (1899–1962), Girl Seated at a Table, 1923. Watercolour on vellum paper, 44.1 × 31.9 cm, www.lostart.de/EN/Fund/477901Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014 / Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Otto Dix (1891–1969), Lady in a Theatre Box, 1922. Watercolour and China ink on vellum paper, 49.3 x 39.9 cm, www.lostart.de/EN/Fund/477895Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Conrad Felixmüller (1897–1977), Couple before Landscape, 1921. Gouache on laid paper, 58.8 × 44.6 cm, www.lostart.de/EN/Fund/477896Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Bernhard Kretzschmar (1889–1972), Streetcar, n. d. Watercolour and China ink on vellum paper, 43,9 × 58,2 cm, www.lostart.de/EN/Fund/477900Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014. Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Thomas Couture (1815–1879), Portrait of a Young Woman, 1850–1855. Oil on canvas, 73,5 x 60 cm, www.lostart.de/EN/Fund/478471Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification. Provenance Most likely until 1940: Georges Mandel, Paris.

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Utagawa Toyohiro (1773–1828), Women Imitating a Damiyo Procession Passing Mount Fuji, Edo period. Colour woodcut on Japan paper, 19,4 x 58,3 cm, www.lostart.de/DE/Fund/478518Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Still Life, n. d. Oil on canvas, 20.8 × 35.5 cm, www.lostart.de/EN/Fund/532948Kunstmuseum Bern, Bequest of Cornelius Gurlitt 2014, Provenance undergoing clarification / Currently no indications of being looted art.