The Expressionist artist Cornelia Gurlitt (1890–1919) is hardly known outside of Germany, and there, too, only specialists and art historians interested in the era around World War I, when she was most productive, are familiar with her work.
For the rest of the world, her name will ring a bell for very different reasons.
Cornelia was the aunt of Cornelius Gurlitt (1932–2014), who was famously caught, back in 2012, with a trove of art hidden in his Munich and Salzburg homes. Stashed away for decades, the 1,500-strong collection was mostly amassed by Cornelius’s father Hildebrand—Cornelia’s younger brother—who for several years in his long career as an art dealer also worked for the Nazis.
The sensational discovery brought to light many works believed to be lost forever; so far, six pieces have been identified as Nazi-loot and restituted, and provenance research is ongoing. But the find also revealed the work of Cornelia Gurlitt, which, in