Possible Monet Found in German Collector Cornelius Gurlitt's Suitcase. Landscape on Paper Was Found in a Suitcase Gurlitt Took to a Hospital Before Dying

Wall Street Journal 5 September 2014
By Mary M. Lane

German officials said Friday they have found what appears to be a Claude Monet work in a suitcase that art collector Cornelius Gurlitt covertly kept at the hospital where he stayed shortly before he died in May.

The task force responsible for researching the collection of Mr. Gurlitt heard of the artwork's existence on Wednesday, a day after the executor of Mr. Gurlitt's estate was given the work by the hospital in southern Germany, said Matthias Henkel, the task force's spokesman.

It is unclear why the work was left at the hospital. Mr. Gurlitt was discharged shortly before dying at home four months ago.

Munich district court representatives couldn't immediately be reached for comment. The court is responsible for processing the estate.

Mr. Gurlitt's collection, inherited from his father, a Nazi-era dealer, was discovered and seized by German officials two years ago in the course of a tax investigation. But its existence, including roughly 1,000 artworks, was only made public last November in a German media report.

Since then, authorities have learned they missed seizing several works in Mr. Gurlitt's Munich apartment, including two sculptures believed to be by Auguste Rodin and Edgar Degas.

Mr. Henkel said it isn't the task force's "responsibility to know" why the Monet, a light-blue landscape created on paper, was only now handed over to the task force.

Task force members have seen photos of the artwork but haven't evaluated it in person, he said. The latest find appears to have been created in 1864, as a study for a work in Monet's series of paintings depicting the beach at Sainte-Adresse.

The task force, appointed by the government, only investigates whether the artwork was looted but not its authenticity.
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