A German recluse accused of hoarding hundreds of paintings from Jewish owners during the Second World War will begin returning artwork next week.
Cornellius Gurlitt kept nearly 1,400 pieces of priceless art at his home in Germany, along with 200 sketches and sculptures in a home in Salzburg, Austria.
The news that Gurlitt had kept hundreds of pieces of artwork collected by his father, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis to sell stolen art and paintings during World War II, sparked an international backlash when their existence was first announced in November.
After pressure from Jewish groups, the United States and Israel, a team of international experts was created to examine the 1,280 works of art, known as the Munich Art Trove.
The announcement of the seized art collection and the agreement to return all artworks back to their Jewish owners or heirs only came forward after German tax officials opened a case against the 81-year-old collector, who had never paid taxes, reports The Telegraph.
One of the first pieces to be returned will be Henri Matisse‘s Sitting Woman, which belonged to Paul Rosenberg, a French art dealer who escaped to the United States when the Nazis invaded France.
Click here to view a gallery of some of the artwork seized from Gurlitt’s homes in Germany and Austria.
Photo source: The Telegraph