Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Cornelius Gurlitt, the art collector who for decades hoarded hundreds of works in his Munich apartment that may have been looted by the Nazis, kept more than 60 additional pieces by artists including Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso at a house in Salzburg, Austria.
A preliminary assessment has found no evidence that the Austrian exhibits were stolen or looted, Stephan Holzinger, a spokesman for Gurlitt, said in an e-mailed statement today.
“Based on an initial screening, such a suspicion has not been substantiated,” Holzinger said. The pieces were moved under the supervision of Christoph Edel, a lawyer provisionally appointed by German courts to supervise the case, to an undisclosed location on Feb. 10 to ensure their safety, he said.
The chance discovery of more than 1,400 modernist artworks in a March 2012 raid by Bavarian tax authorities unearthed paintings, sketches and prints long given up as lost or destroyed under Adolf Hitler’s regime. Gurlitt inherited the collection, which Focus magazine estimated to be valued at more than 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion), from his father Hildebrand, one of four art dealers commissioned by the Nazis to remove art they scorned as “degenerate” from circulation in the 1930s and 1940s.
Representatives for Gurlitt last month said the German-born octogenarian is in contact with Jewish families to negotiate restitution for some of the pieces. As many as 590 of the artworks may have stemmed from Jewish owners, while about 380 were identified as works seized by the Nazis, the government said on Nov. 11. The remaining works, “clearly have no connection with ‘degenerate art’ or Nazi loot,” it said.
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