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Tuesday, 12 November 2013 17:44

German Authorities Release Details about Recently Discovered Art Collection

Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels at the 1938 Nazi Art Exhibition. Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels at the 1938 Nazi Art Exhibition. Getty Images

The German government has released some details about the astounding art collection found in a dilapidated Munich apartment. Authorities released a written statement saying that about 590 of the 1,400 artworks could have been stolen by Nazis and identified 25 of the pieces on the website Among the paintings listed on the site were Otto Dix’s The Woman in the Theater Box, Otto Griebel’s Child at the Table and Max Liebermann’s Rider on the Beach. The trove also includes works by Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso.

The masterpieces were found in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of the art dealer Hildebrandt Gurlitt, who reportedly acquired the works in the late 1930s and 1940s. Gurlitt’s father had been put in charge of selling the stolen artworks abroad by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, but secretly hoarded many of them and later claimed that they were destroyed in the bombing of Dresden. Gurlitt, an unemployed recluse, sold a number of the paintings over the years and lived off of the profits. 200 of the pieces have outstanding return requests from the original owners’ heirs.

The German government has assembled a task force of six experts to research the provenance of each recently discovered artwork. To date, it has been determined that one painting by Matisse was stolen by the Nazis from a French bank in 1942.  

German officials will update the Lost Art website regularly as the investigation progresses.

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