Gurlitt signs agreement over looted art


Art collector Cornelius Gurlitt has signed an agreement with the German authorities to allow investigators to hold on to artworks confiscated from him that could have been looted by the Nazis.

At least 593 pieces among over 1200 paintings found in Mr Gurlitt’s Munich flat will be held by a team researching whether the works were stolen from Jewish owners.

In return, paintings not under suspicion of being looted will be given back to him.

"All the works which are not subject to provenance research will be returned without delay," said his lawyer Christoph Edel in a joint statement with the Bavarian authorities and the German government.

Mr Gurlitt's legal team say they are in discussions with six people who have come forward to claim ownership.

The collection of paintings was inherited by Mr Gurlitt from his art dealer father Hildebrand, who was hired by the Nazis to collect artwork regarded as "degenerate" by the Third Reich

The World Jewish Congress welcomed the news, saying that Mr Gurlitt’s agreement to return any looted paintings set “an important and hopeful precedent for future cases”.

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