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Displaying items by tag: two riders on the beach

A court handling the late art collector Cornelius Gurlitt's inheritance says it has formally authorized the return of the first two paintings from his trove to their rightful owners' descendants.

The Munich district court said Tuesday it approved the handover of Henri Matisse's "Woman Sitting in an Armchair" and Max Liebermann's "Two Riders on the Beach" after both potential heirs to Gurlitt's collection endorsed the move.

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German government-appointed experts on Friday gave the green light to the restitution of one of the most valuable artworks in the trove of late collector Cornelius Gurlitt to its American owners.

Art experts mandated by Berlin to comb Mr. Gurlitt's collection for Nazi loot said that "Two Riders on the Beach," a 1901 Max Liebermann painting, was looted during World War II and rightfully belonged to the heirs of David Friedmann, a German-Jewish collector who died in the early 1940s. The family is currently suing the Bavarian government for its return.

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David Toren, a retired lawyer from New York, has filed a lawsuit against Germany for the return of artwork in the case surrounding Cornelius Gurlitt. Gurlitt, the son of the German art dealer Hildebrandt Gurlitt, is accused of hoarding hundreds of masterpieces stolen by the Nazis.

Toren is asking for the return of Max Liebermann’s “Two Riders on the Beach,” as well as any other works belonging to his family in the Gurlitt trove. The Liebermann painting, which was owned by Toren’s great Uncle, David Friedmann, was one of the first paintings made public when Gurlitt’s trove came to light. Toren filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court in Washington against the federal republic of Germany and the free state of Bavaria. The suit claims that the German government is retaining property that it doesn’t own and demands that authorities return the Liebermann canvas to Toren and pay unspecified damages.

Out of the 1,406 paintings in Gurlitt’s trove, about 970 are suspected of being looted from Jewish families or taken from museums during World War II. Gurlitt’s father was put in charge of selling 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, who is unemployed, sold a number of the paintings over the years and lived off of the profits.

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