Monday, 4 November 2013

A Long Wall of Silence

Narrenturm (Fools-Tower)

I'm afraid I don't know who painted this picture of Vienna's Narrenturm. I wish I did.  

It was not amongst the hoard of 1,500 artworks found in 2011 by the Bavarian authorities at the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt (80) and reckoned by 'experts' to be worth a billion euros.

The works include paintings and drawings by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Kokoshka, Beckmann, Nolde and other important artists.

We only know about the Nazi-looted and Nazi-acquired paintings being discovered 21/2 years ago because of a whistleblower article in the current edition of the German magazine Focus.

Some of the questions immediately springing to mind are:

Why wasn't news of the find revealed at the time?

Why was an international news conference not called?
What lies behind the strange and unusual delay?
Did the Bavarian authorities inform Berlin of the discovery?
And if so, when was Angela Merkel informed?
Have any other finds been made that people should be aware of?

So far, no answers.

The silence from Berlin is deafening.

The painting of the Narrenturm pleases me. I like the unusual perspective which fits to the subject of madness, the matchstick figures busily going about their business in the street, the matronly figure at the door, and the lines of washing drying in the sunshine. And when I look at it I imagine too the terrible din and panic in the tower at night; the screaming, the bellowing and the howling and maybe the hollow ringing steps of someone hurrying by on the street outside.


  1. Perhaps we should check Mrs Merkel's mobile phone!

    I just heard about this story on the 6 0'Clock news on Radio 4.

  2. It's less than 6 months since AM was prickly with Putin over stolen art from Germany in Russia but at the time she must have known about this little lot down there in Munich must she not? And if she did, as we must presume in absence of any word to the contrary, she kept mum.

  3. And kept mum for 2 1/2 years!

  4. As to AM's knowledge all I can find is a quote by a spokesman: AM was informed a "few months ago". Nothing more.

  5. He must have lots of tins of food on his shelves.

  6. The story gets more bizarre.

    The suspect has now "vanished without trace" according to the news media.


    I wouldn't give a lot for his chances now the cat is out of the bag. He obviously knows too much.


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