Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Community News Network

November 4, 2013

Hundreds of artworks by Picasso, Chagall, others may have been seized by Nazis

BERLIN — A Berlin art historian is helping prosecutors investigate a trove of 1,500 artworks that may have seized by the Nazis, which has been found in Munich.

Berlin Free University said in an e-mailed statement Monday that the inquiry is led by Meike Hoffmann of its degenerate art research unit.

The artworks, estimated to be worth 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) if confirmed, were found in a squalid Munich apartment after a random check on an elderly man traveling from Switzerland to Munich by authorities cracking down on money- laundering prompted further investigation, according to a report in the German magazine Focus. The raid took place in secret two years ago, according to magazine, which didn't say how it obtained the information.

"This is extraordinarily significant, if confirmed," Monika Tatzkow, a provenance researcher and author of several books on Nazi-looted art, said in an interview from Berlin Monday. "The number of works is overwhelming. It shows that a lot of time has to pass for some of this art to emerge from shady sources."

German customs officials recovered about 1,500 works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann and Marc Chagall long thought lost or destroyed, Focus said. The German government said it a statement Monday that it was aware of the case.

"Dr. Hoffmann has been assigned with the task of identifying the works by the Augsburg prosecutor," the release said. "This is an ongoing investigation and we ask for your understanding that the scholar at the Free University can give no information at this time," it said.

The investigators unearthed the paintings, sketches and prints, which were buried among outdated packets of food and rubbish, two years ago in the apartment of a man reported to be the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a prominent art dealer in the 1930s and 1940s with ties to the Nazis, according to Focus report.

Customs authorities in Munich and prosecutors in the city of Augsburg declined to comment on the report, citing confidentiality rules. Berlin art historian Meike Hoffmann is trying to establish the origin and value of the works, Focus reported. Hoffmann couldn't be reached for comment.

"As important a story is why have the Bavarian authorities been sitting on them for two years," said Anne Webber, co-Chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, a London-based organization which helps families recover art seized by the Nazis. "Bavaria needs to publish a list of these works as soon as possible."

The works include a painting titled "Portrait of a Lady" by Henri Matisse that once belonged to Jewish art collector Paul Rosenberg, Focus said.

Rosenberg, whose granddaughter is Anne Sinclair, the estranged wife of former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was forced to leave his collection behind when he fled the Nazis, Focus said. Gurlitt kept the artworks and sold some as a source of income over the years, the magazine reported.

Works by Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Liebermann and Albrecht Duerer were also discovered in the raid, it said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Robin_Williams.jpg Williams among many who cracked jokes while fighting depression

    Robin Williams isn't the only comedian who has struggled with a disease suffered by an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Williams, a comedian known for his manic energy, committed suicide Aug. 11 at age 63.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Heavy Rains Flood Arizona Roads US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller