A newly discovered painting by Claude Monet has come to light in the Gurlitt Nazi restitution case. The landscape was found in a suitcase left at a hospital where the German citizen had been treated. The masterpiece was handed over to the administrators of his estate.
Cornelius Gurlitt was the son of a notorious Nazi art dealer whose secret collection included many Third Reich looted pieces, died in Germany age 81. He passed away on the 6th May in his Munich apartment, which was used to store 1,400 valuable works of art including Picasso, Rodin, Matisse and Monet masterpieces said to be worth in excess of 800 million euros. A press release sent by his spokesman, Stephan Holzinger stated, “With the death of Cornelius Gurlitt, the investigation also ends”. This is not the case as one painting has already been returned to the estate of Paul Rosenberg and others are currently being challenged in the courts.
Before his death,Gurlitt had agreed that if works were shown to have been looted by the Nazis they should be returned to the heirs of their rightful owners. Many people, particularly Jewish groups felt that the works should be liable to restitution. The collection was recently put online and given a limited period for claimant’s families to come forward.
Born in 1932, in Hamburg, Gurlitt survived the bombing raids during World War II. Even though his father was of Jewish origin, he was useful to the Nazis and collaborated with them, to appraise art for sale, to subsidise the war effort. He had a younger sister, Benita. “My whole family had a lot of paintings but we gave them to Cornelius’s family because he had connections and the possibility to hide them,” stated Ekkeheart Gurlitt, a cousin of Cornelius Gurlitt, in a November 2013 interview. The works were bequeathed to a Swiss museum which has not yet decided to accept the collection.