When news first broke that Cornelius Gurlitt had named the Kunstmuseum in Bern as his sole heir (and not merely as the recipient of his art collection), we wondered whether some putative heir to Gurlitt—and thus to at least part of the art collection under suspicion for containing Nazi-looted art—might challenge that appointment.
We did not have to wait for long. ORF in Austria reports today that Ekkeheart Gurlitt, a great-nephew living in Barcelona Spain, is considering a challenge to the will that Cornelius apparently made in the last weeks of his life. Readers will recall Ekkeheart from the CBS 60 Minutes piece in April (Morley Safer referred to Ekkeheart as a “rather flamboyant photographer”), that was both thorough and immediately obsolete when the lawyer for Cornelius who was featured heavily in the piece was replaced and the deal struck with Bavarian prosecutors.
Ekkehart’s Munich lawyer Wolfgang Seybold confirmed as much to ORF. One does not have to be a German lawyer to understand how a relative could challenge the ability—known as testamentary capacity—that an apparently terminally ill person has to make an effective disposition of his property.
This will be aided (or confused, depending on your perspective) by further reports today that a second will has been sent to the Bavarian authorities for probate, confirmed by the president of the Munich court, Gerhard Zierl. The second will is apparently an addition (known in Anglo American law as a codicil) to the first, but both seem to have been written after theFocus article last November and the collection’s disclosure to the world.