Niagara Gazette

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The investigators unearthed the paintings, sketches and prints, which were buried among outdated packets of food and rubbish, two years ago in the apartment of a man reported to be the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a prominent art dealer in the 1930s and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
  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • New York to offer free lunch to all middle-school students

    New York's $75 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began last week includes the first step toward offering free lunch for all 1.1 million students, expanding a program now reserved only for the city's poorest children.

    July 9, 2014

  • Are America's biggest alcohol brands targeting the country's underage youth?

    Underage drinkers - those between the ages of 18 and 20, most specifically - are more heavily exposed to printed alcohol advertisements than any other age group, according to a new study. And it's America's biggest booze companies that could be to blame.

    July 9, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page