London, Nov 4: A collection of “lost” paintings by world-renowned artists like Picasso and Matisse, worth an estimated one billion euros (over $1.3 billion) have been found, a media report said.
The paintings looted by the Nazis before the Second World War contain some 1,500 works by world-renowned artists, reported The Independent citing a German magazine.
Bavarian customs police discovered the sensational haul in the home of Cornelius Gurlitt, the 80-year-old son of well-known pre-war art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt.
The younger Gurlitt had hoarded the paintings in his Munich apartment for over half-a- century, it reported.
According to the Focus magazine, the art works were found in an apartment, said to have been an abandoned mess, full of plates with the remains of rotting meals on them, food packaging, and old tins of canned food.
It said that in some cases Picasso works were wedged between cans.
Authorities, the report said, had in fact seized the works in 2011 but their existence had not been revealed until now.
“The paintings were categorised as ‘degenerate art’ by the Nazis, who either confiscated them or stole them from Jewish art collectors,” the magazine said. “The customs raid to retrieve them was a clandestine operation and kept secret by the authorities.”
The cache was said to contain works by dozens of 20th-century European masters including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Liebermann.