Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Michael Rebholz


Since November 3, 2013, a case regarding Nazi-looted art-known as the Gurlitt casehas garnered the attention of the media and the art industry in both Germany and the United States. This case arose from German authority's confiscation of approximately 1500 pieces of valuable art found in Cornelius Gurlitt's apartments in Germany and Austria. He claimed that he was the legal owner of the artworks that people believed to have been destroyed during World War It. This article first answers the question of how this case would be resolved under German law by focusing primarily on the question of whether Cornelius Gurlitt could have legally acquired ownership of the artworks that the Nazis seized from their former owners during the Third Reich. The article then analyzes the legal issues arising from Nazi-looted art cases under U.S. law. Finally, the article makes a comparative analysis between German law and U.S. law.