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The not-so-secret task force investigating Munich art hoard is revealed

German government releases the names of the researchers looking into the provenance of the Schwabing art trove

Their identities were meant to remain secret but now the 13 researchers appointed by the German government to examine the Nazi-looted art hoard of Cornelius Gurlitt have been revealed. The “Schwabing art trove” task force includes seven German and six international experts in matters of provenance and restitution, two of whom, Sophie Lille and Agnes Peresztegi, were recommended by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Established by the German federal government and the state of Bavaria last year, the scholarly team will trace the ownership of the 1,400 works discovered in 2012 in the Munich apartment of Cornlius Gurlitt, the son of a Nazi-era art dealer. It will first examine the 590 works suspected to be Nazi loot and will then turn to the 380 pieces that have been classified as “degenerate art”. The rest of the collection is thought to have been legitimately owned by Gurlitt.

International members of the task force also include Jane Milosch, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Thierry Bajou, the head of the Musées Nationaux Récupération project, Yehudit Shendar of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, and Shlomit Steinberg of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Uwe Hartmann, a prominent German art historian and the director of the Institute for Museum Research at the Berlin State Museums, is the scientific coordinator of the task force. He is joined by Roland Kempfle, a Munich prosecutor, Meike Hoffmann, an art historian, Michael Franz, the director of Germany’s central office for the documentation of lost cultural property, Magnus Brechtken, the director of the Institute of Contemporary History, Munich, Stephanie Tasch, of the state cultural foundation and Heike Impelmann, from the office of unresolved property issues.

“I am very grateful for the wide international support for our work. The appointment of national and international experts guarantees the objectivity and high level of our scientific work,” said Ingeborg Breggreen-Merkel, the head of the task force, in a press statement on Tuesday.

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