News Germany

Military records help identify some of the works hidden in Munich apartment

Around 100 pieces from the collection of Hildebrand Gurlitt were confiscated and inventoried by Allied forces in 1945

The first two pages of an inventory of works confiscated from Hildebrand Gurlitt's collection by the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives programme—commonly known as the Monuments Men

Heirs of the former owners could find help in identifying specific works among the 1,406 pieces of art discovered stashed in Cornelius Gurlitt’s Munich apartment. According to the German newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Allied forces confiscated around 100 works from Gurlitt’s father’s private art collection in 1945 and compiled a five-page inventory. The art was returned to Hildebrand Gurlitt five years later.

The list includes Max Liebermann’s Zwei Reiter am Strand (two riders on the beach), identified as part of Cornelius Gurlitt’s secret cache at a press conference this week, as well as Max Beckmann’s Lion Tamer, which Gurlitt sold through the German auction house Lempertz in 2011. The list is available online through a collection of military records and the Holocaust Art Restitution Project's Facebook page.

Meanwhile, international requests for information have started to flood the public prosecutor’s office in Augsburg, after he decided to not publish a full inventory of the Munich cache. In the hope of finding some of the vast number of works that were looted from Poland during the Second World War, Justyna Lewanska, the consulate-general of Poland in Munich, contacted the public prosecutor on Monday. She is disappointed by the secrecy around the discovery, saying: “One must really question the motivation of the prosecutor.” Lewanska says she has not received any information yet, but will approach the prosecutor again should she not hear back in the next few days.

Markus Stötzel, the lawyer representing the heirs of the Jewish art dealer Alfred Flechtheim, has also contacted the office looking for works with the Flechtheim provenance.

A spokesman from the prosecutor's office declined to comment on individual cases, but reaffirmed the invitation for claimants of lost works to contact the office. Their requests will be answered as quickly as possible, he says.

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8 Nov 13
21:22 CET


Back in the 90's I worked for the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art. At the time we put on for the first time an Exhibition of works of art that the Nazis deemed "Dengerate" art was ever gathered togather and exhibited as REAL art. And placed in a proper museum setting for viewing. It was a most memorable and honour to be part of placing these works in a proper showing and a highlight of working at the Museum as a preparator. At the time the first Gulf War was on. It would have been an even greater exhibition if at the time these works that have now come to light would have been included in this historic exhibition. I am looking forward to see what has been uncovered.

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