$1.3B of Nazi-Seized Art Found in Squalid Apartment
Dealer's son sat on huge stash for decades in Munich
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2013 12:32 AM CST
Updated Nov 4, 2013 5:45 AM CST
Joseph Goebbels visits an exhibition of "degenerate art" in 1938.   (Bundesarchiv)

(Newser) – German tax inspectors investigating an elderly loner were staggered to find a cache of 1,500 masterpieces stashed amid expired cans of food in the man's squalid Munich apartment. The art—believed to include works by Matisse, Picasso, and Chagall—was confiscated by Nazi authorities or bought for rock-bottom prices from desperate Jewish owners in the 1930s and '40s, the BBC reports. The 80-year-old man being investigated was the son of art dealer Cornelius Gurlitt, who had helped the Nazis gather up so-called "degenerate" art.

Until his death in 1956, Gurlitt had insisted the artworks had been destroyed in a 1945 bombing raid on Dresden. His reclusive son is believed to have hoarded the artworks for at least 50 years, occasionally selling one when he needed money. German authorities discovered the trove, thought to be worth at least $1.35 billion, two years ago, but it is only being made public now; authorities can expect a huge flood of claims from the descendants of the art's former owners, the Guardian notes.

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Showing 3 of 32 comments
Nov 11, 2013 2:41 AM CST
The food cans were perhaps "Merda d'artista"?
Nov 5, 2013 4:57 AM CST
The original owners of the art has survivor descendants probably. By every law adopts family descendants proprietary rights if those laws does not justify something else - murder and theft combined to justify ownership. Not even Deutschland can own these arts, because it became temporary there by political murder and individual theft combined by the defeated past authorities that called them Germany
Nov 4, 2013 6:58 PM CST
I worked with a guy who was a combat engineer at the wars end and after in Germany. A large part of his tour of duty was being sent to a location, a field, a patch of forest, a courtyard, and using graders and dozers scraping off the surface, at times an inch at a time. As soon as something was exposed: a crate, a packet of papers, what ever, his company was immediately pulled out and CID moved in. They were never told what was expected at these sites. On one such mission the dozer he was operating suddenly sank about fifteen feet into a field. Another mass grave site. talk about the stuff of nightmares.