Photo Credit:
Detail of Woman Sitting in an Armchair by Henri Matisse

German investigators have determined that an art collection that belonged to a Munich collector was stolen from French Jews during the Second World War.

According to an Associated Press report, the paintings were found in an apartment belonging to Cornelius Gurlitt, son of famed art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, who was known to have worked with the Nazis. The younger Gurlitt died in May, a short while after agreeing to cooperate with the German government for Nazi links to his collection. For years, he had sworn that he had come to the paintings honestly.

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”Even if it could not be documented with certainty under what circumstances Hildebrand Gurlitt came into the possession of the work, the task force comes to the conclusion that it is Nazi-looted art from the rightful property of the collection of Paul Rosenberg,” said the task force’s head, Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, in a statement.

German authorities had confiscated the collection, which includes nearly 1,300 paintings, from Gurlitt’s home in 2012. They believe that at least one painting , “Woman Sitting in an Armchair” (Henri Matisse, 1921) was stolen from Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg when the Nazis invaded Paris in 1940. In that event, the BBC reported that German authorities believe the painting should be restored to Rosenberg’s heirs.

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