I am a British arts and culture journalist based in Berlin, where I have lived since 1999. My first book, The Munich Art Hoard – Hitler’s Dealer and His Secret Legacy, was published in September 2015 by Thames & Hudson. It is an investigation into the incredible trove of art, including works by Monet, Picasso and Chagall, found by German customs officials in the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt. For more on the book, click HERE
I graduated in French and German from London University in 1989 and spent the following year teaching English at the University of Halle in East Germany, where I witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall from behind the Iron Curtain and published my first article, in The Times. The year I spent in Halle awakened a lasting fascination for German history, politics and culture.
After spells working as a freelance reporter in Budapest and as a journalist at Swiss Radio International, I moved to Bonn in 1997 to cover German politics for Bloomberg News. I later became Berlin bureau chief and the editor responsible for European political and government news, running a team of about 30 reporters and editors from Madrid to Moscow and handling breaking news in a fast-paced agency newsroom.
I switched to the Bloomberg arts desk in 2005, where I reviewed exhibitions, books, films, opera, theatre and restaurants. After covering some high-profile restitution cases involving Nazi-looted art, I also began tracking the efforts by heirs of Jewish collectors to find and recover lost treasures, unravelling, for example, the story behind a Camille Pissarro painting plundered by the Gestapo that resurfaced in a Swiss bank vault leased by a Nazi dealer and recounting the legal battle fought by families over a trove of medieval gold church treasures in a Berlin museum.
I am passionate about cultural heritage and the areas where law, politics, art, history and identity intersect. I love literature, art, theatre, fine food and wine, holidays in Italy and hiking in the mountains around the quaint medieval town of Quedlinburg, where I renovated a beautiful old half-timbered house.
Photo credit: Xiomara Bender