Germany Restitutes Matisse and Liebermann Artworks From Gurlitt Collection

Christopher Marinello, CEO of the Art Recovery International, with a recovered Matisse. Photo Courtesy Art Recovery International.

Germany has finally restituted two of the most valuable artworks from the controversial Gurlitt collection, the Wall Street Journal reports.

On Tuesday, the heirs of Woman with a Fan (1923) by Henri Matisse and Two Riders on a Beach (1901) by Max Liebermann were told they could collect the artworks from a storage facility in Munich.

The Gurlitt trove containing over 1,200 works was seized from the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt in 2012. Gurlitt inherited the collection from his father who compiled the works for an art museum that Hitler planned in Vienna. Several works are said to have been looted by the Nazis or sold under duress (see Kunstmuseum Bern Says Nazi-Era Gurlitt Trove Has 500 Works With Dodgy Provenance).

The heirs to the Matisse painting looted by the Nazis from the the Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg said in a statement “The Rosenberg family would like to express their gratitude to German officials, members of the provenance Task Force, and the Gurlitt family for their cooperation and for their recognition of this historic claim.”

The statement added “Other victims can be encouraged that unconditional restitution of artwork lost as a result of Nazi persecution is still possible and, above all, that time is no barrier to justice.”

The family’s attorney Christopher Marinello said “We’re pleased with the conclusion…not the process that got us here” (See Germany Criticized for Bureaucratic “Bullying” over Gurlitt Restitution and Chris Marinello is the Sherlock Holmes of Art Crime).

August Matteis, the lawyer representing David Toren, heir to the Liebermann painting told the WSJ he was planning to pick up the work “as soon as possible, before who knows what could happen.”

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