In the winter of 2012, police in Munich raided the home of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive, octogenarian son of a deceased art dealer who had sold works of art for the Nazis during World War II. The German authorities were investigating Gurlitt for suspected tax evasion. In darkened rooms, stuffed among tins of food and piles of junk, they found more than 1,400 works by some of Europe’s masters. Many of the paintings and drawings are believed to have been looted by the Nazis from Jewish collectors and families, or forcibly purchased as knock-down prices, and there are myriad questions about what to do next.
But one thing is clear: the European art world will never be the same. The collection contains works of art that had been recorded as lost and pieces by masters such as Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and Otto Dix that art historians never knew existed.
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