The Holocaust Art Restitution Project Calls on the Kunstmuseum Bern to Fully Comply With the ICOM Code Of Ethics In Its Handling Of Looted Artworks From the Gurlitt Collection, Including Waiving a Section of its Agreement With Germany, Performing ...

HARP 1 December 2014

Complete Provenance Research, and Disclosing the Gurlitt Will.

Washington, DC, USA – December 01, 2014 - The Holocaust Art Restitution Project (“HARP”), based in Washington, DC, chaired by Ori Z. Soltes, has called on the Kunstmuseum Bern (“KMB”), which just accepted the bequest of the art collection from Cornelius Gurlitt, to comply fully with all the requirements of the International Council of Museums’ (“ICOM”) Code of Ethics, including waiving a key section of its November 24 agreement with the German Government, performing a full and complete provenance research of the Gurlitt collection, specifically the so-called “Salzburg Fund,” and disclosing the full and complete will of Cornelius Gurlitt.

In a letter to the KMD’s Director, Matthias Frehner, Ori Soltes requested full compliance with ICOM’s Code of Ethics, which the museum formally adhered to through its membership to the Swiss Museums Association. Soltes requested that the KMD perform a full provenance research on the collection, and waive the 90-day deadline it agreed to with the German Government to ensure that full compliance with its research obligations takes place. Furthermore, Soltes requested that Gurlitt’s will be made public and that all potential conflicts of interest between Gurlitt’s interested parties and the KMD’s related parties be disclosed, as is required by ICOM.

“KMB’s agreement with Germany does not comply with ICOM’s Code of Ethics. It is the KMB’s burden to show that its public statements are consistent with its actions. To this end, the KMB must waive certain sections of its Agreement with Germany, and must disclose all terms of Cornelius Gurlitt’s will. Any lack of compliance with ICOM’s Code of Ethics will constitute a grave injury to both the art market which requires that full and complete diligence be performed on any transaction, and to Holocaust survivors who have been looking for their artworks since 1945,” said Soltes.

Press Contacts: in DC, Marc Masurovsky, (00) 1 202 255 1602 ,
in NY, Pierre Ciric, (00) 1 212 260 6090,

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