Billion Dollar Modern Art Hoard Looted By Nazis Discovered In Munich

Nazi looted art

Over 1,500 ‘degenerate’ artworks including paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, stolen by the Nazis or forcibly sold at auction by Jewish art collectors in the 1930s and 1940s have been discovered in the German city Munich. This is the largest single find of looted art in post war history.

The discovery came to light when tax authorities began investigating Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a prominent art dealer, in Munich. His house was raided during a search for suspected tax evasion in 2011.The cache of lost masterpieces from the Nazi era were uncovered in the investigation and they were documented and valued. They are now in a secure warehouse waiting to be reunited with the heirs of the original owners.

The Art Loss Register said that there are international warrants out for at least 200 of the works. It is thought that several of the works came from Picasso’s art dealer Paul Rosenberg, whose Paris gallery represented both Picasso and Matisse. In 1940, the Nazis forced Rosenberg and his family to flee Paris to the United States. The Fascists stole hundreds of paintings that Rosenberg was forced to leave behind. In June 1999, the Seattle Art Museum returned the painting Oriental Woman Seated on Floor (also known as Odalisque), by Henri Matisse, to the heirs of Paul Rosenberg.

It was reported that the hoard included works by the Expressionist artists Franz Marc, Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, Oskar Kokoschka, Otto Dix, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, as well as the Swiss artist Paul Klee who taught at the Bauhaus. A major Klee exhibition is curently on view at London’s Tate Modern.

Photo: Left: Paul Rosenberg Right: Oriental Woman Seated on Floor (also known as Odalisque), by Henri Matisse,


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