Report of Nazi-Looted Trove Puts Art World in an Uproar

tags: WWII, art history



BERLIN — There was no hint that the older man who called a couple of years back about selling a picture could be sitting on an unimaginable trove of art confiscated or banned by the Nazis. When the proffered work, “Lion Tamer” by the German artist Max Beckmann, was collected, the seller seemed to be a proper gentleman in Munich dispensing with a lone, dusty art gem at the end of his life.

It was a “fantastic picture,” recalled Karl-Sax Feddersen of the Cologne auction house Lempertz, who noted how pleased the auction house team was with the auction price: 864,000 euros, or $1.17 million.

When he learned on Monday that the Beckmann seller, Cornelius Gurlitt, now 80, had reportedly sat on hundreds of works, including art by Picasso and Matisse, that were confiscated under the Nazis or sold cheaply by owners desperate to flee Hitler, Mr. Feddersen was amazed. “Imagine!” he said, envisaging seeing and selling such a collection...




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