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Thursday, 27 March 2014 10:56

Art Hoarder Agrees to Return Nazi-Looted Works

Detail of Henri Matisse's 'Seated Woman/Woman Sitting in Armchair.' Detail of Henri Matisse's 'Seated Woman/Woman Sitting in Armchair.'

Cornelius Gurlitt, the German man who had been hoarding a trove of Nazi-looted artworks in his Munich apartment, has agreed to return the works to their rightful owners. Gurlitt's lawyers are currently working with the descendants of Paul Rosenberg, a French art dealer, to return Henri Matisse's "Seated Woman/Woman Sitting in Armchair."

In November 2013, it was reported that in 2012, more than 1,400 artworks were uncovered in Gurlitt's apartment. In February 2014, around 60 more works were found in an Austrian home owned by Gurlitt, including works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pablo Picasso.  Two subsequent visits turned up 178 more works.

Gurlitt, 81, is 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 sold a number of the paintings over the years and lived off of the profits.

In November 2013, Gurlitt announced that he would not negotiate the return of the works in his possession.

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