Gurlitt suggests he may return looted art

Max Beckmann’s The Lion Tamer was found at Cornelius Gurlitt's Munich apartment

Max Beckmann’s The Lion Tamer was found at Cornelius Gurlitt's Munich apartment

The reclusive German pensioner accused of hoarding more than 1,400 pieces of art thought to have been looted by the Nazis is reportedly willing to return items to the heirs of their original owners.

Cornelius Gurlitt had said he intended to keep the paintings discovered at his Munich flat after details of the haul were revealed last November.

But a lawyer acting for the 81-year-old said Mr Gurlitt now wanted "fair and just solutions" to restitution claims.

Experts had condemned the German authorities' handling of the case after an initial refusal to publish a full list of the recovered items.

The works were valued at around £1 billion and included 121 framed pieces and 1,258 unframed works. Among them were paintings by masters such as Picasso, Renoir and Matisse.

Relatives and heirs of Jewish families who had work stolen by the Nazis had also attacked Mr Gurlitt, saying that attempts to obstruct restitution were as serious as the original looting.

Mr Gurlitt's father, Hildebrand, was an art dealer in the 1930s and was hired by the Nazis to collect artwork regarded as "degenerate" by the Third Reich.

Last updated: 5:52pm, January 28 2014