Kelly Crow puts her finger on the most important aspect of the Gurlitt hoard, it will drive Modern work to a market starve for fresh material. The best part is that unlike previous restitution cases, no museums will be punished for the finds by losing their works:
Christie’s said it has sold 65 restituted works over the past three years; Sotheby’s said it has sold more than $1 billion of restituted art in the past 15 years. The scale of the Munich trove sets it apart, though.
London-based art adviser Patrick Legant, who buys for several collectors of German-Austrian Expressionist art, said he has never seen so much art come up for restitution at once—not at least since the years immediately following the war. “It’s incredible.”
Far from being taboo, a restitution history today can give an artwork “an edge” if offered up for sale, and Mr. Legant said he expects many of these Munich artworks to eventually trickle into the marketplace. The heirs of such restituted pieces often want to share the value of the works equally. A sale allows for equal divvying. And families who choose to keep their returned paintings must pay for insurance and other ancillary costs of ownership.