Claude Monet landscape painting discovered in art hoard in Germany

The Guardian 5 September 2014
By Philip Oltermann

Investigators will determine whether it was looted by the Nazis, along with 1,280 other works from Cornelius Gurlitt's apartment

The Monet landscape was found in Cornelius Gurlitt's suitcase, after the recovery of hundreds of works from his flat in this Munich apartment building in 2012.

The treasure trove of artworks discovered in a Munich flat in 2012 continues to yield surprises even after the death of its reclusive owner, with the discovery of a previously unknown Claude Monet landscape.

A taskforce of art historians examining the late German collector Cornelius Gurlitt's long-hidden stash revealed on Friday that they had discovered the Monet painting in a suitcase that Gurlitt had taken to the hospital where he died in May this year.

Matthias Henkel, a taskforce member, told the Guardian that the light-blue Monet painting may have been painted around 1864 and bears close resemblance to the French artist's Vue de Sainte-Adresse, which is listed in Monet's catalogue raisonné and not considered lost. Henkel said it was very common for artists to paint several pictures of the same motif.

The taskforce has said that along with the other 1,280 works in the collection it will examine whether the Monet landscape may have been looted by the Nazis.

Gurlitt had inherited the collection, which includes artworks by Pablo Picasso, Otto Dix, Max Liebermann and Henri Matisse, from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, one of the few dealers allowed by the Nazi regime to trade in "degenerate art".

When the discovery of Gurlitt's collection became public in November last year, there was speculation that it contained art looted from Jewish families by the Nazis.

So far only two paintings, Matisse's Sitting Woman and Liebermann's Two Riders on the Beach, have been identified as looted. In June, the taskforce's leader, Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, confirmed that the Matisse painting rightfully belonged to the French art dealer Paul Rosenberg's collection.

In August, the taskforce announced that the Liebermann painting belonged to the descendant of the late Jewish collector David Toren.

Neither painting has yet been returned to its owner. Seven further paintings in the collection are suspected of counting as looted art.

Gurlitt died of a long-standing heart problem on 6 May, aged 81. In his will, he declared Bern's Kunstmuseum gallery as the sole heir to his collection. The Swiss gallery, which had no previous dealings with the collector, is expected to decide this year whether to accept the artworks.
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