More works found at German collector's apartment

AP, Thursday 24 Jul 2014

Cornelius Gurlitt
Cornelius Gurlitt has a home in Salzburg, but he usually lives in Munich in this apartment building, where he stored more than 1,400 works of art from artists including Picasso, Chagall, Otto Dix and Matisse. (Photo: Reuters)

More art works have been found at the Munich apartment of the late collector Cornelius Gurlitt, including a sculpture apparently by Edgar Degas and another that could be by Auguste Rodin, the task force investigating the pieces' origin said Thursday.

A "small number" of further works was found at Gurlitt's apartment by officials securing his estate, the task force said in a statement. It declined to elaborate on the number.

The works include one picture but are largely sculptures, the task force said. One appears to be by Degas and another, a marble sculpture, could be Rodin's work, it added.

Experts are now working to identify the pieces after the court-appointed administrator of Gurlitt's estate asked them to determine whether the works were stolen by the Nazis.

The pieces were never seized by German prosecutors, the task force said. It declined to comment on why.

Gurlitt and his collection were thrust into the public spotlight in November when authorities disclosed that they had seized 1,280 works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall from his apartment more than a year earlier.

They had discovered the works while investigating Gurlitt for suspected import tax evasion. He inherited the collection from his father Hildebrand, an art dealer who traded in works confiscated by the Nazis.

Gurlitt, who died in May, designated Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Bern as the sole heir to his art trove. The museum has six months to decide whether to accept the bequest and has said it expects to use all that time.

Shortly before he died, Gurlitt reached a deal with the German government under which hundreds of works he owned would be checked for possible Nazi-era pasts while staying in government hands. Authorities say that deal is binding on any heirs.

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