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1,500 Nazi Looted Art Pieces Discovered in Germany

Hundreds of paintings worth $1.4 billion including Picasso, Matisse found lying around in an apartment

By: Omer Shachnai
Published: November 4th, 2013 in News » World
An infamous painting by Matisse discovered in the German flat

German newspapers are abuzz today with news of hundreds of art masterpieces looted by the Nazis discovered in the apartment of an old-aged son of an art dealer who had bought the artworks during World War II.

Some 1,500 paintings that were stolen by the Nazis during the war, including unique works by the timeless Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, have been discovered in a flat in Germany. The artworks were discovered when German authorities investigated Cornelius Gurlitt, an 80-year-old recluse, for tax evasion.

According to the reports, the drawings’ estimated value altogether is around an astounding $1.38 billion.

The artworks remained hidden in the dark in the man’s apartment in Munich for nearly 50 years. He had sold a few over the course of the years, living off the profits. Aside from Picasso and Matisse, the collection included many of the great masters of the 20th century, among them the German painters Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann and Max Liebermann.

One of the paintings discovered was a Matisse that had belonged to the Jewish collector Paul Rosenberg, the grandfather of Anne Sinclair (former wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn). Rosenberg had fled Paris at the height of the Nazi occupation leaving his collection behind.

All throughout the war, the Nazis systematically stole artworks in Germany and all across Europe. It is estimated that the German forces plundered 100,000 paintings, artworks and antiques from the home of Jews in France between 1940 and 1944.

Thousands of stolen artworks have since been returned to their owners or their descendants, but many more have never resurfaced and remained a mystery.

This finding follows an investigation by Dutch museums from last week, which revealed that 139 of their artworks, including a Matisse and two Kandinsky paintings, may have been stolen by the Nazis.

Related articles: Nazi, Picasso, Matisse, World War II, Looted Art, Jewish News, German Painters, Paul Rosenberg
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