Germany to quickly catalogue Nazi art hoard

The Guardian 11 November 2013

Artworks found in Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt known to include pieces by Matisse and Picasso

AP: The German government has said it will push to rapidly identify and publish details of a trove of artworks discovered in a Munich apartment, many of which may have been stolen by the Nazis.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said authorities would later this week detail how they intend to publicly identifying the 1,400 looted works. "We can well understand that especially Jewish organisations are asking many questions. They represent older people who were treated very badly," said Steffen Seibert.

Officials have released few details about the art found in the Munich apartment of 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, though it is known to include pieces by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. The discovery resulted from an ongoing tax inquiry, adding to secrecy concerns.

Prosecutors have said there is evidence that one item – a Matisse painting of a sitting woman – was stolen by the Nazis from a French bank in 1942. Other items in the trove had been denounced as "degenerated art" by the Nazis, taken from museums and then sold abroad.

Some of the works may have been taken from or bought for a pittance from Jewish collectors who were forced to sell under duress. For the heirs of those collectors, the discovery has raised hopes, while the slow release of information has stirred frustration.
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