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SWITZERLAND

Schumi faces ‘difficult and long’ recovery

Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm said on Sunday there is still no clear time-frame for the Formula One legend's full recovery.

Schumi faces 'difficult and long' recovery
Photo: DPA

"That is not possible to say in this situation," Kehm told German broadcaster RTL.

"Michael is making progress appropriate to the severity of his situation, but it will be a difficult and long process."

Schumacher suffered severe head injuries while ski-ing with his family last December in the French Alps, leaving him in a coma for six months.

But he has been recovering at his home in Gland, Switzerland since June.

Kehm again stressed that Schumacher's family are grateful for the constant flood of well wishes from fans of the seven-time world champion.

"I can only say again that the family is very happy and touched by the sympathetic messages," said Kehm.

"I believe that positive energy does them good. We appreciate the condolences from around the world."

Last month, a French doctor treating Schumacher echoed Kehm's message that the 45-year-old German Formula One ace was making progress, but will need years to fully recover.

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ART

Dual German, Swiss exhibitions lift veil on Nazi-era art hoard

Portions of the spectacular art collection hoarded by the son of a Nazi-era dealer will be shown for the first time since the Second World War in parallel exhibitions in Switzerland and Germany starting on Thursday.

Dual German, Swiss exhibitions lift veil on Nazi-era art hoard
A painting by Ernst Ludwig unveiled in Bern in July. Photo: DPA.

“Gurlitt: Status Report”, which displays around 450 works by masters including Monet, Cezanne, Renoir and Picasso, aims to shed a light on the systematic looting of Jewish collections under Adolf Hitler.

The works in the two exhibitions, which run in Bern and the German city of Bonn until March, are just a small fraction of the more than 1,500 pieces discovered in 2012 in the possession of Cornelius Gurlitt.

His father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, worked as an art dealer for the Nazis starting in 1938.

The discovery of the stash made headlines around the world and revived an emotional debate about how thoroughly postwar Germany had dealt with art plundered by the Nazi regime.

“At last it is out of hiding,” the German weekly Die Zeit said about the collection, noting that “for the first time it will be possible to view what many have spoken and written about in the past few years, without being able to see it so far.”

The show, split between the two museums, is the result of years of disputed research into Gurlitt's collection, which was discovered in the course of a tax probe.

Inspectors found the works in Gurlitt's Salzburg home and his cluttered Munich apartment, many in poor condition, unframed and mouldy.

“With these two exhibitions, we wish to pay homage to the people who became victims of the National Socialist art theft, as well as the artists who were defamed and persecuted by the regime as 'degenerate',” Rein Wolfs and Nina Zimmer, directors of the Kunsthalle Bonn and the Kunstmuseum Bern, respectively, said in a statement.

Legal tangles

Gurlitt, who died in 2014 at the age of 81, was described in the press as a recluse who lived off of the sale of his collection, valued in the millions of euros.

The exhibition in Bern will focus on modern works which were classified by the Nazis as “Degenerate Art” in 1937 and confiscated for sale abroad.

In Bonn, the show will present art that was looted from victims of the Nazi regime and works whose provenance has not yet been established.

The exhibits themselves have prompted difficult legal tangles.

When Gurlitt died he left more than 1,500 artworks to the Bern museum.

It accepted the collection, though it left about 500 works in Germany so that a government task force could research their often murky origins.

But determining their provenance has been slow, and it is not yet clear how many of these works were stolen.

Researchers have definitively identified just six works of art as looted from Jewish owners.

Cezanne behind a cupboardĀ 

Four, including Max Liebermann's “Riders on the Beach” and Henri Matisse's “Seated Woman”, have now been returned to their heirs.

And last week, the German Lost Art Foundation said it had identified a painting by Thomas Couture as belonging to French Jewish politician and resistance leader Georges Mandel.

Other families have also tried to lay claims to works.

Relatives of Paul Cezanne have asked for the return of “La Montagne Sainte Victoire,” a painting found in Gurlitt's Salzburg house behind a cupboard.

“It is not yet clear how the work came into Hildebrand Gurlitt's possession,” Marcel Bruelhart, vice president of the Kunstmuseum Bern foundation, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

One of Gurlitt's cousins also contested the donation of works to the Bern Museum, claiming that Gurlitt had not been of sound mind when he wrote his will.

Her appeal was thrown out by a German court last December, clearing the way for the current exhibitions.