Opening: Wolfgang Gurlitt. Art dealer and profiteer in Bad Aussee

The Journey of the Paintings - Bad Aussee

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Wolfgang Gurlitt. Kunsthändler und Profiteur in Bad Aussee
© Norbert Artner


Life and activities of Wolfgang Gurlitt (1888–1965), who lived in Bad Aussee (and in the latter part of his life, in Munich) between 1940 and his death in 1965, and the beginnings of the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz are closely interwoven: the museum is in charge of his both brilliant and problematic collection, which at one time was conveyed to Bad Aussee for safekeeping.

In two rooms of the Kammerhofmuseum in Bad Aussee, the visiting exhibition of the Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz sheds light on the eventful life of the passionate collector and Berlin art dealer Wolfgang Gurlitt (1888 – 1965) and his Jewish partner Lilly Christansen-Agoston (1894 – 1950). Both were involved in the trade of confi scated and “degenerate” art during the National Socialist era. 

Gurlitt’s family bought a villa on the Lenauhügel in Bad Aussee back in 1940. Following the bombing of his apartment and art gallery in Berlin in 1943, Gurlitt and his extended family adopted the Ausseerland as their new home where he also contributed to the vibrant cultural life in the immediate post-war period. 
In 1946, the internationally well-connected exhibition organiser was appointed director of the New Gallery of the City of Linz, today the Lentos Kunstmuseum. With the Gurlitt collection stored in Bad Aussee, the museum oversees a legacy that is as illustrious as it is problematic. 

Over the course of his career, Gurlitt was involved in more than one hundred exhibitions in Linz, Salzburg, Alpbach and Munich. He also curated the 1949 festival week exhibition in Bad Aussee, in the course of which the New Gallery of the City of Linz / Wolfgang Gurlitt Museum was introduced to the Ausseerland with graphic works by Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Alfred Kubin and Gustav Klimt. 

With this exhibition featuring around 60 originals from the former Gurlitt collection, Lentos is once again showcasing top-class works of art in the Salzkammergut.

The Journey of the Paintings

Three different art exhibitions of a special kind at three locations: During the Second World War, Hitler and the most important Austrian museums and art dealers used the Salzkammergut to bring masterpieces of European art history to safety or to protect museum collections from destruction.

More about the project at

Macht und Tradition, Kultur im Fluss

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Kammerhofmuseum Bad Aussee