Society

Nazi Art Hoarder Had Monet Brought To His Hospital Room

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The reclusive son of a Nazi-era art dealer had a Monet painting smuggled into his hospital room before his death in May.

In March 2012, investigators found 1,280 unframed pieces of art, including work from Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse, in an apartment in Augsburg, Germany, belonging to Cornelius Gurlitt.

Gurlitt was the subject of a tax evasion probe at the time of the discovery. Investigators believe many of the paintings, drawings and sketches were stolen or extorted from Jews during the Holocaust. Gurlitt was the son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art historian who was appointed by the Nazi Commission for the Exploitation of Degenerate Art. 

The executor of Gurlitt’s estate discovered an impressionist piece in a suitcase handed over to him by the clinic where Gurlitt died at age 81. It is believed to be the work of Claude Monet.

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"The work on paper shows a landscape in light blue," a government task force said in a statement.

"An initial look through the Monet catalogue of works indicates that it may have been completed in 1864," given its similarity to the painting "Vue de Sainte-Adresse" finished the same year.

The task force is still going through Gurlitt’s collection.

In July it identified two sculptures, one believed to be by Edgar Degas and another by Auguste Rodin.

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The day after Gurlitt’s death on May 7, the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern, Switzerland, learned that it was named as the recipient of the collection in his will. The museum is still considering the offer.

Sources: New York Times, The Local

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