The Cornelius Gurlitt case continues with the discovery of two new masterpieces. This time it is sculpture by Auguste Rodin and Edgar Degas, that has been found in the Munich flat of the son of one of Germany’s most notorious Nazi art looters. The pieces were among a “small number” of new works uncovered by German officials, as they seek to find restitution for the works that were stolen.
The task force investigating the art trove has declined to reveal how many new works were discovered. Gurlitt, who inherited the priceless collection from his father Hildebrand, an art dealer who traded in works confiscated by the Nazis, died in May. In his will, he left the art haul – more than 1,200 pieces including works by Monet, Chagall, Picasso and Matisse – to the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland. The museum has six months to decide whether to accept Gurlitt’s bequest.
Cornelius’ father Hildebrand Gurlitt was hired by Adolf Hitler to uncover “degenerate art” seized from Museums and Jewish families that could be resold to raise funds for the German war effort. The collection was seized by police in 2012, after a routine stop and search on a train revealed that Mr Gurlitt was carrying nearly 10,000 euros in cash. Although this was just under the legal limit, tax authorities later searched his residence uncovering a hoard of 1,400 works of art many by modern masters including, Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Renoir and Franz Marc. The works of art are thought to be worth up to £200 million pounds. A further 60 works were also discovered in his house near Salzburg, earlier this year.
The first painting to be confirmed, as stolen by the Nazis, has emerged from the Gurlitt hoard. It is a portrait by the Post Impressionist painter Henri Matisse. The investigating body appointed by the German government to assess the hoard have now established that the painting belongs to the family of Paul Rosenberg a prominent Parisian, Jewish, art dealer, who fled to London and than New York during the war. It has now been returned to the family.