Priceless Art Stolen by Nazis is Still Turning Up

November 4, 2013 // In the News

Over the weekend, German media reported that more than 1,500 paintings looted by the Nazis (now worth more than one billion Euros) were found in an apartment in Schwabing, in Munich. Here’s an article in English from UK’s Independent: Looted by the Nazis, found in a squalid apartment: €1bn cache of ‘degenerate art’

The apartment allegedly belongs to one Cornelius Gurlitt, the 80-year-old son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, who was a noted art dealer in the 1920s. Gurlitt was first fired by the Nazis for dealing in what they termed degenerate art (and many of the paintings found in the apartment fall into that dubious category), but then was appointed by Hermann Goering as a dealer for Hitler’s Führermuseum in Linz.

His job there was to sell the so-called degenerate works which the Nazis had deemed illegal overseas and use the proceeds to fill the coffers of Goering’s vast private collection. After the war, Gurlitt told American interrogators that his entire collection had been destroyed in the bombing of Dresden. But I guess he lied. It seems his son has been living off the proceeds of intermittent sales of pieces since the father’s death in 1956.

The fact that I briefly lived in Schwabing when I worked in Munich makes this even more tantalizing. I can’t wait to see what pieces emerge and what new stories we learn.

About the author

C.F. Yetmen is a writer and consultant specializing in architecture and design. She is co-author of The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry and a former publisher of Texas Architect magazine. The Roses Underneath is her first novel.