BERLIN — Cornelius Gurlitt, a reclusive German collector whose long-secret hoard of well over 1,000 artworks triggered an international uproar over the fate of art looted by the Nazis, died today. He was 81.
Gurlitt’s spokesman, Stephan Holzinger, said that the collector died at his apartment in Munich, where he had asked to return after being hospitalized for major heart surgery. He was “in nursing care and taken care of in recent weeks around the clock,” Holzinger said.
On the question of who might inherit from Gurlitt, Holzinger said Gurlitt has living relatives, but wouldn’t immediately say who they are.
Gurlitt was thrust into the public spotlight in November when authorities, following a report by German magazine Focus, disclosed that they had seized 1,280 works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall from the Munich apartment more than a year earlier.
They had discovered the works while investigating suspected import tax