Monet Landscape Found in Gurlitt’s Suitcase
German authorities thought they had gotten it all.
Amid the investigation of the cache of works found in the Munich apartment of collector Cornelius Gurlitt’s, the German task force handling the investigation has made a discovery: a landscape by Impressionist master Claude Monet. The painting, according to The Guardian, was found in a suitcase that Gurlitt (who died in May) had taken with him to the hospital. He had been hospitalized in December to treat a serious heart condition.
Gurlitt, the son of a Nazi-era art dealer, first came to attention in November this past year when a secret stash of roughly 1,280 paintings and drawings by artists including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Max Beckmann were found in his Munich apartment. The task force of German authorities had been assembled after the find in order to look into the provenance of the 19th and 20th century works, some of which were undocumented.
The artworks were first discovered in Gurlitt’s apartment in 2012 in an investigation tied to suspected tax evasion. Gurlitt had lived in the apartment for decades where he occasionally discreetly sold off works aggregated by his father, one of the few dealers permitted by the Nazis to trade in Modern, or “degenerate” (as they were derogatorily known under the regime), art that had been confiscated by Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
While many of the works were pilfered from German museums, dozens were also believed to have been the property of Jewish collectors who sold off their work below market value in order to make a quick escape from the country, or had it confiscated before being deported and murdered.
At the hospital, in Ludwigsburg in Southern Germany, Gurlitt also secretly signed a will bequeathing the works to the Kunstmuseum Bern. Gurlitt was released from the hospital a few weeks before his death, at the age of 81.
The court-appointed administrator of Gurlitt’s estate received the suitcase this week and reported finding the work, a light-blue landscape painting completed around 1864, according to experts, and which the task force says looks similar to Monet’s Garden at Sainte-Adresse. The work had been kept at the hospital.
This Monet in the suitcase isn’t the first time since the initial raid of Gurlitt’s apartment that art works in the collector’s possession have turned up. In February, an additional 60 works were found in Gurlitt’s Salzburg home, and in July, several more were found in his Munich apartment including sculpture believed to be by Edgar Degas and August Rodin.
During his interview with Der Spiegel, Gurlitt had said, “There is nothing I have loved more in my life than my pictures.”
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