The recent revelation that the 80-year-old son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer enlisted by the Nazis, was keeping a trove of Nazi-looted art in his Munich apartment, has sent the world into an uproar. It also made CMC professor Jonathan Petropoulos’s phone ring off the hook, as one of the world’s leading experts on Nazi-looted art. First photos of the collection, believed to be worth more than $1 billion, reveal that the stash found in Cornelius Gurlitt's home includes masterpieces by Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and Chagall.
The story broke last Sunday in German magazine Focus, and is being reported on across the world, with many questioning why the stash––actually found over a year ago––wasn't made public sooner. The forthcoming release of the star-powered feature film The Monuments Men, directed by George Clooney, has added another timely layer of public interest in the discovery.
In a day's work earlier this week, Petropoulos juggled several interviews while administering a mid-term, including two foreign newspaper interviews, and interviews (both televised and print) for Reuters, as well as an appearance on PBS NewsHour. By the next day, the media queue included the Los Angeles Times, NPR's "On Point with Tom Ashbrook," a sit-down in his office with an Austrian television station, and, over his lunch hour, a chat with the German Press Agency. This was in addition to interviews with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BBC News. Among
Petropoulos's works on the subject: The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) and Art as Politics in the Third Reich (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).
Petropoulos, who is the John V. Croul Professor of European History, has been quoted in news outlets worldwide.
Here is a sampling: