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The Munich Art Hoard

Hitler's Dealer and His Secret Legacy

Catherine Hickley


The world’s leading journalist in the field of Nazi-looted art tells the story of Hitler’s art dealer, Hildebrand Gurlitt, and his incredible collection

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In February 2012, in a Munich flat belonging to an elderly recluse, German customs authorities seized an astonishing hoard of art. Cornelius Gurlitt's trove, inherited from his father Hildebrand, art dealer to the Nazi regime, caused a worldwide media sensation.

Here, Catherine Hickley uncovers the story behind the headlines. She takes us from the street-corner battles of Kristallnacht in Breslau, Silesia, to modern-day Madison Avenue in New York; from the charred ruins of post-war Dresden to the current cosy prosperity of the Swiss capital Berne. We witness the shady dealings of the Paris art world in the 1940s and listen in on political debates in modern-day Berlin, as politicians and lawyers puzzle over the inadequacies of a legal framework that to this day falls short in securing justice for the heirs of those robbed by the Nazis.

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'A comprehensive narrative … meticulously lays out the spidery network of ties, lies and fears that helped Gurlitt save his own skin'
The Economist

'A splendid account of skulduggery … a riveting read'
The Oldie

'Catherine Hickley knows her subject inside out … excellent'
Jewish Quarterly

'Hickley tells the story of the Gurlitts, as well as of the efforts made by some of the heirs of the works’ original owners to get them back, with forensic attentiveness to detail'
Art Quarterly

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Edition Type: Compact edition

Size: 19.8 x 13.0 cm

Extent: 272 pp

Publication date: 21 July 2016

ISBN: 9780500292570

Contents List

1 Two Riders on the Beach • 2 This Barbaric Art • 3 An Isle of Free Thought • 4 Deals with the Devil • 5 Surviving the Inferno • 6 Secrets and Lies • 7 A Dark Inheritance • 8 Selling Plunder • 9 The Augsburg Prosecutor • 10 The World Gasps • 11 Late Justice • 12 Berne’s Burden

About the Author

Catherine Hickley reported on arts and culture from Berlin for Bloomberg News for eight years, becoming the leading journalist worldwide in the field of Nazi-looted art. Her 16-year Bloomberg career also spanned stints as a reporter covering German politics, as Berlin bureau chief and as the editor managing European government news. She previously worked as a journalist in Switzerland and Hungary. A graduate in French and German from London University, she witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall from the other side of the Iron Curtain as an English teacher in East Germany in 1989. She had long been intending to write a book about Nazi-looted art when German authorities revealed they had seized an incredible hoard of works by artists including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Otto Dix and Albrecht Duerer in the Munich apartment of the reclusive Cornelius Gurlitt. This fascinating story, traversing continents and decades, is the subject of her book.

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