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calendar   Sunday - November 03, 2013

ART VALUED AT A BILLION DOLLARS FOUND IN GERMANY

No doubt this will be in tomorrow’s paper, and wow. Watch for a movie on this one.  Maybe it’s just my own intense interest in this era and its history, and the wow factor of this fellow living so long ghost like.

Gurlitt has managed to survive his entire life without any official bank account, pension or insurance.

When stopped by customs, extensive checks found that he was not registered with the police - mandatory in Germany - the tax authorities or social services.  He drew no pension and had no health insurance.

‘He was a man who didn’t exist,’ said one official.

When you read the article below, do you get the same feeling I did which was; they were waiting for this guy.  Somehow, in spite of the explanation about routine checks, after all these years of traveling and selling the art works, was this the very first time he went from Switzerland back to Germany and ran into a check?  And on this occasion alone he showed himself to be nervous and so caught the attention of authorities?
Could just be me.  But I think he was grassed. I really do.

One thing is certain though.  This is one hell of a major art find.  This stuff was all reported lost in the bombing of Dresden.  But it has to be his if his father bought them originally.  OK, granted.  The sellers were trying to get the hell of Germany. They were Jews running from the Nazis.  His father bought at fire sale prices. He was unprincipled, some would even say he was worse then scum since he was part Jewish himself. The fact remains however, he paid and in some cases traded escape for paintings. If he hadn’t, the owners might all be dead. So ... this last surviving son owns them. Perhaps.
Like, if the original owners or any family members don’t come forward.... ???  He’ll have one hell of a tax bill tho and maybe even jail.

Read it all and see what you think.

1,593,600,000.00 USD

£1billion art collection seized by Nazis found in shabby Munich apartment: Experts believed 1,500 pictures by artists including Picasso, Renoir and Matisse had been destroyed by RAF raids

More than 1,500 paintings found including pieces by Picasso and Matisse
Collector Hildebrandt Gurlitt ordered for them to be destroyed in 1945
But in a routine search on a train from Switzerland to Germany, his son was caught with 9,000 euros cash earned from an illicit art deal
Officials searched his small rented apartment in Munich and found the art
Experts claim most were acquired from Jews in exchange for escape

By Allan Hall

A treasure trove of artworks worth almost £1billion seized by the Nazis and reportedly destroyed in RAF bombing raids during WW2 has been found behind rotting food in shabby apartment in Munich.

Experts have hailed the discovery of the 1,500 pictures, thought to have been lost or bombed, as a sensational find.

The story of the lost masterpieces of such painters as Pablo Picasso, Renoir, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall is revealed in this week’s edition of Germany’s Focus magazine which broke the story of the incredible find by customs officials.

Art historians examining the collection claim up to 300 of the Gurlitt collection appeared in a Nazi exhibition called Degenerate Art - displaying what they deemed to be poor.

The rest were bought at ‘shamefully’ low prices from Jews in exchange for an escape route out of the country.

One of the paintings is a portrait of a woman by the French master Matisse that belonged in the collection of the Jewish connoisseur Paul Rosenberg, who had to leave behind his collection before his escape from Paris when the country fell in 1940.

His granddaughter Anne Sinclair, the wife of disgraced former top banker Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been fighting for decades for the return of his pictures stolen by the Nazis, but according to Focus she ‘knew nothing’ of the existence of this painting.

It was found, alongside around 1,500 other pieces, in the Aladdin’s Cave behind a wall of tins of beans and fruit in the decrepit flat of loner Cornelius Gurlit in the Munich suburb of Schwabing. 

This artwork by some of the giants of the 19th and 20th centuries was deemed ‘degenerate’ by the provincially-minded Nazi hierachy, stolen from collectors - many of them Jewish - and ordered to be shut away by Hitler and his henchmen.

Other works discovered in the flat are by Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Liebermann.

The astonishing story of their recovery is like the plot from a thriller.

Dealer Hildebrandt Gurlitt had acquired the paintings and sketches in the 1930s and 40s for a pittance from terrified Jews and reported them all to be destroyed at the war’s end during the ferocious bombing of Dresden.

Nothing was known about the collection until September 2010, almost 100 years later, when customs carried out a routine check on a train from Switzerland.

Stopping his sole surviving son - who had never worked and who had no visible means of income - they discovered he had an envelope containing 9,000 euros in cash, and a stash of empty envelopes.

Many wealthy Germans deposit money illegally in Switzerland to evade high taxation rates on their savings in their homeland and such checks on people are commonplace.

He appeared nervous and the officials issued a search warrant for his £600-a-month rented flat.  It was entered in the spring of 2011 and the paintings discovered.  But, controversially, customs slapped a ban on information about the raid.

Ever since, art historians have been trying to find the heirs to the sketches, oil paintings, charcoals, lithographs and watercolours around the world while prosecutors pursue tax evasion charges against Gurlitt who sold artworks off piece-meal over the years to live on.

One painting by Max Beckmann - The Lion Tamer - he hawked at the Cologne auction house of Lempertz for nearly £750,000 shortly before the collection was seized.

The recovered works are now in a security wing of Bavarian customs in Garching near Munich where a team of experts are trying to find the heirs to the rightful owners.  ‘This is a sensational find,’ said a spokesman for German Customs.  ‘A true treasure trove. It is an incredible story.’

The collection has meant that Gurlitt has managed to survive his entire life without any official bank account, pension or insurance.

When stopped by customs, extensive checks found that he was not registered with the police - mandatory in Germany - the tax authorities or social services.  He drew no pension and had no health insurance.

‘He was a man who didn’t exist,’ said one official.

When his apartment was entered investigators discovered a mountain of past sell-by date of tinned and bottled food. Behind the decomposing food, next to a barred window, were found the missing artworks.

But behind-the-scenes, owners of paintings, many of them Jewish, were being forced to sell them at rock-bottom prices to art dealers in exchange for an escape to safer countries.

Gurlitt is a name well-known to art aficionados, a family who once catered to the elite of the German art collecting scene. Hildebrand Gurlitt was among the most respected art historians in Germany by the time the Nazis came to power in 1933.

He was a champion of modern art - and therefore, initially, hated by the Nazis.  He was relieved of museum directorial posts by the regime and also persecuted because of his Jewish grandmother.  But the Nazis also needed him because no-one had the contacts within Nazi Germany - and outside - that he had with collectors.

He was tasked by Goebbels personally with ‘versilbern’ - turning into cash - the degenerate artworks of the Jews for the regime. He did this with some zeal and was rewarded by being offered the future post of director of the ‘super’ museum of art that Hitler planned to open in Linz, Austria, where he had once lived.

Gurlitt acquired ‘hundreds and hundreds’ of artworks at knock-down prices, according to Focus.  After the Nazi’s Degenerate Art exhibition, he took control of some of the exhibits too.

At the end of the war Guirlitt said the firebombing of Dresden in February 1945 had destroyed his collection at the family home in Kaitzer Strasse.

His Jewish roots and his initial disfavour with Nazism made him, in the eyes of the Allies, a victim not a persecutor and he was never charged with fleecing Jews out of selling their collections for pennies.  He carried on dealing in art until 1956 when he was killed in a car crash.

It wasn’t until his son was stopped on the train three years ago that the secret of his collection was revealed. 

‘But we were stunned with what we found. From floor to ceiling, from bedroom to bathroom, were piles and piles of old food in tins and old noodles, much of it from the 80’s.

‘And behind it all these pictures worth tens, hundreds of millions of euros.’

Focus reported that investigators later found a bank savings book of Cornelius Gurlitt with half-a-million euros on deposit in it, the fruits of his sale of the artwork over the years.

Ironically, although Gurlitt faces jail for tax evasion and money laundering, many of the paintings could be returned to him if their rightful heirs are not found. 

LOST AND FOUND ART SOURCE


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/03/2013 at 04:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Art-Photography •  
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