$1B in Nazi-looted art is found in Munich mansion
Authorities in the German city of Munich have reportedly chanced upon a vast trove of priceless art that vanished during the Nazi regime and is today valued at about $1 billion. The BBC cites the German magazine Focus in reporting German tax authorities found the store of 1,500 artworks, including those by masters like Matisse, Picasso and Chagall, hidden in the home of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of a Munich art dealer.
Gurlitt had been reportedly suspected of tax evasion, and authorities found the cache after obtaining – and then executing – a search warrant for his Munich home in early 2011.
“This is a sensational find," a spokesman for German Customs reportedly said. “A true treasure trove. It is an incredible story.”
And although the art was seized almost two years ago, the Focus story apparently represents the first public account of the works’ discovery.
Decades ago, many of the works had reportedly been declared “degenerate,” or “un-German,” by the Nazis, subsequently confiscated, and then re-sold to German collectors at below-market prices. Others had been reported stolen or were apparently bought for a pittance from Jewish art collectors who were under duress or forced to hurriedly emigrate.