Details of Nazi-loot cache revealed
At a press conference today, German authorities confirm that art discovered in a Munich apartment includes works by Modern artists and Old Masters
By Julia Michalska. Web only
Published online: 05 November 2013
Previously unknown paintings by Otto Dix and Marc Chagall are among the 1,406 works found in a Munich apartment, said the Berlin-based art historian Meike Hoffmann at a press conference in Augsburg today. She also revealed that the spectacular discovery includes works from the 16th and 19th centuries.
German authorities seized 121 framed and 1,285 unframed paintings, it was confirmed today, including the gouache Landscape with Horses, by Franz Marc, an unknown Otto Dix self-portrait, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's etching Melancholy Girl and a sketch by Canaletto. In addition, there are works by Beckmann, Kokoschka, Toulouse-Lautrec, Macke, Nolde, Kirchner, Picasso, Dürer, Chagall and Renoir. The paintings were discovered in the apartment of 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt who was suspected of tax evasion. He is the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a Hamburg art dealer who was commissioned by the Nazis to sell “degenerate art” abroad.
Gurlitt’s apartment was searched in February 2012, not in 2011, as was widely reported in the press, said Siegried Klöble, the head of the customs investigations office in Munich. He further clarified that the hoard is not stored in a depot in Garching near Munich, as has been reported, but did not disclose the actual location. The paintings had been “stored properly and are in very good condition”, he said, not confirming the estimated value of the works, although it is thought to be around €1b. The works will not be put online, said Reinhard Nemetz, the Augsburg public prosecutor. If no claimants are found, the works will be returned to Gurlitt.
It was also revealed today that Gurlitt owns a home in Salzburg, Austria, which has not yet been searched and his whereabouts are unknown.
Update: The Augsburg authorities invite people searching after lost works to contact the public prosecutor's office in Augsburg.
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