Published February 12, 2014
BERLIN – A reclusive elderly German art collector who kept well over 1,000 works at his apartment in Munich also had around 60 more pieces at a house in Salzburg, Austria, his spokesman said Tuesday.
Collector Cornelius Gurlitt's caregiver ordered the works — including pieces by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso — to be secured as a precaution against break-ins and theft, the news agency dpa quoted spokesman Stephan Holzinger as saying. Further details were not immediately available, and Holzinger did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The works were secured on Monday and are being examined by experts "on the orders of Cornelius Gurlitt" to determine whether any of them were looted by the Nazis, Holzinger said. He added that an initial evaluation suggests they were not.
The works in Munich were seized by authorities investigating a tax case in 2012. Officials kept the find secret until it was publicized by a German magazine in early November, putting the total number of pieces at more than 1,400. They are checking whether 458 of the pieces were seized by the Nazis, but plan to return works belonging indisputably to Gurlitt.
A lawyer for Gurlitt said last month that he is considering claims for the restitution of some of the works found in Munich as he seeks "fair and just solutions" following the seizure of the collection.
Prosecutors in Augsburg, who are in charge of the Munich case, declined comment on the works in Salzburg.