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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

German authorities seized 121 framed and 1,285 unframed paintings, it was confirmed today, including the gouache Landscape with Horses, by Franz Marc

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.

German authorities found this sketch by Canaletto among 1,406 works in a Munich apartment
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12 Nov 13
17:44 CET


I essentially agree with Kevin, but think that Anita has the better idea of handing the collection over to the Yad Vashem. It is difficult to understand why the Austrian home has not yet been searched, especially with Gurlitt missing!! 1B Euros of looted art owned by Jewish people should not remain in Germany or Austria under any circumstances!!

11 Nov 13
15:43 CET


I know someone from Austria, who's parents had pricey art stolen from their home by Nazis. I do not know if she is still living.

11 Nov 13
15:46 CET


It would be good if a representative selection of the works could be exhibited in a public gallery, prior to a decision on their eventual destination.

7 Nov 13
15:47 CET


I agree this is most disturbing to hear that the works would possibly be returned to Gurlitt!! I think the Collection should be handed over to the Yad Vashem and I am sure they will track down descendants of owners through their extensive research database, if not,they would know best how to memorialize it in honour of those whom it was stolen from. Returning it to Gurlitt seems like a ploy to retaining the collection in Germany!! Hard to part with a billion dollars of blood art!

6 Nov 13
22:53 CET


I agree wholeheartedly with the comments by Kevin but also wonder why it has taken nearly 3 years for the Munich authorities to announce this to the world. Perhaps I am misinformed about the timing but during that period any owners, given their age, could have died making it even less likely that these works of art will be returned to their rightful owner. Above all though, they should NEVER be returned to Gurlitt. He has profited enough from this blood art.

6 Nov 13
20:7 CET


I totally agree with Kevin's comments above. The thought that unclaimed works would be returned toGurlitt is most disturbing.

6 Nov 13
14:50 CET


I must admit myself and other dealers have been discussing this case as it has been unfolding with and have observed it with huge intrigue. It's phenomenal that any collector can sit on this amount of work it's just not done. I think we need to be brutally honest here. How many people are going to come forward and claim works stolen 70 years ago? If they are even alive how will they even provide evidence of purchase after all this time. The fact that if not claimed the work will go back to Gurlitt is nothing short of an outrage. The entire collection should be seized and handed over to a charity such as the Holocaust educational trust or some other charity or even distributed over a number of charities who should be able to do as they wish with the works. So that in someway they can benefit the realitves or groups of people they where stolen from in the first place.

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