Authorities recover precious paintings seized by the Nazi’s in Munich appartment
Authorities in Germany have announced that they have uncovered a massive haul of vintage paintings in an apartment in Munich. The paintings are believed to have been seized and hidden by the Nazi’s in the 1930’s and include paintings from world famous artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Renoir. The 1,500 paintings had been believed to have been lost forever during an allied air strike in Dresden in 1945 but it has emerged that they had been stashed in the apartment since then.
The rare paintings are estimated to be worth as much as €1 billion and were found in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt who was the son of Hildebrandt Gurlitt, an art dealer from Munich who had been put in charge by the Nazi party to round up the pieces of art in the 1940’s when they were being seized from their owners, the majority of whom were Jewish. Cornelius Gurlitt had aroused suspicion from authorities back in September 2011 when he sold a Max Beckmann painting to an auction house in Cologne. The painting was so rare that the authorities believed he may have been harbouring other such works at a secret location.
As Mr. Gurlitt was not registered with the German authorities and it appeared that he had never worked in the country they decided to investigate him and discovered the stash of valuable paintings in his flat hidden behind old tin cans. Siegfried Kloeble from the city’s customs investigation office said at a press conference held in Munich “When we looked through the flat we found numerous paintings. The paintings in this room were professionally stored and in a very good condition.”
The recovery of these precious works of art are a major find for the German customs officials as they had been believed to have been lost forever. Speaking at the same press conference in Germany Reinhard Nemetz of the public prosecutor’s office in Augsburg said the paintings were of an “extraordinary aesthetic quality” and of high scientific value.
There is a significant amount of mystery surrounding the exact whereabouts of Cornelius Gurlitt and authorities have been unable to track him down for questioning. The German authorities would not disclose if they believed Mr. Gurlitt now 80 years of age was still alive. They are however, very pleased that the paintings have been recovered and can now be brought back to their rightful place in art Galleries and museums so that art lovers can truly appreciate them.