Swiss museum will accept Gurlitt art trove

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Swiss museum will accept Gurlitt art trove
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 22: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Augsburg State Prosecutor's Office via the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Two People' by Edvard Munch on November 22, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 79 works now shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Augsburg State Prosecutor's Office via Getty Images)
RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, MANDATORY CREDIT OF THE ARTIST, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION German artist Nana Dix, grand-daughter of the painter Otto Dix, poses in front of own works in her studio in Munich, southern Germany, on November 21, 2013. In an interview with AFP Nana Dix asks German authorities to publish the 1,406 works being seized in February 2012 at the Munich's flat of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of German art collector Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer tasked by the Nazis with selling confiscated, looted and extorted art works in exchange for hard currency. Previously unknown masterpieces by modernist painter Otto Dix are among a vast trove of works believed stolen by the Nazis and uncovered in Gurlitt's flat. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Girl At A Table' by Wilhelm Lachnit on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Child At A Table' by Otto Griebel on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the painting 'Couple' by Hans Christoph on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the painting 'Lady in a Loge' by Otto Dix on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo by Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Rides At The Beach' by Max Liebermann on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'A Woman Sitting In A Chair' by Henri Matisse on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'The Tamer' by Otto Dix on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo by Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Street Tram' by Bernhard Kretschmar on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo by Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg/Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Mother And Child' by Erich Fraass on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Contemplative Woman' by Fritz Maskos on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg via Getty Images)
Police officers stand in front of a house where art collector Cornelius Gurlitt lived, in Munich, Germany, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Gurlitt, a reclusive German collector whose long-secret hoard of well over 1,000 artworks triggered an international uproar over the fate of art looted by the Nazis, died Tuesday. He was 81.Photo (AP Photo/dpa, Sven Hoppe)
FILE - The Nov. 13, 2013 file photo shows a painting from Max Liebermann "Zwei Reiter am Strande" ("Two riders on the beach") that is projected on a screen during a news conference in Augsburg, southern Germany. A Swiss museum agreed on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 to accept a priceless collection of long-hidden art bequeathed to it by German collector Cornelius Gurlitt, but said it will work with German officials to ensure any pieces looted by the Nazis from Jewish owners are returned. German authorities in 2012 seized 1,280 pieces from Gurlitt's apartment while investigating a tax case. Gurlitt died in May, designating Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Bern as his sole heir. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
The house of Cornelius Gurlitt, pictured on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 in Salzburg, Austria. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
FILE - The Feb. 13, 2014 file photo shows the name plate of the house of Cornelius Gurlitt in Salzburg, Austria. A Swiss museum agreed on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 to accept a priceless collection of long-hidden art bequeathed to it by German collector Cornelius Gurlitt, but said it will work with German officials to ensure any pieces looted by the Nazis from Jewish owners are returned. German authorities in 2012 seized 1,280 pieces from Gurlitt's apartment while investigating a tax case, including works by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. Gurlitt died in May, designating Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Bern as his sole heir. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
This picture taken Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 shows the house of Cornelius Gurlitt in Salzburg, Austria. Austrian state television said Wednesday, March 26, 2014, experts have found 180 artworks — including a long-lost painting by Claude Monet — in this house of the German art collector who hoarded art in his Munich apartment for decades. ORF says the works were discovered last month among the "household belongings" of Gurlitt, in addition to 60 pieces of art discovered separately in the house. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2013 file picture a cameraman films an apartment house, in which more than 1,200 paintings have been found, in Munich, Germany. German authorities say more art works have been found at the apartment of the late collector Cornelius Gurlitt including a statue apparently by Edgar Degas and another that could be by Auguste Rodin. The task force that has been working to identify whether works in the collection were stolen by the Nazis said Thursday July 24, 2014 that the works were never seized by prosecutors, who in 2012 impounded more than 1,200 pieces by artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse that Gurlitt had hoarded in his apartment. (AP Photo/dpa, Marc Mueller)
The photo dated 1925 and provided by Kunstsammlungen Zwickau museum shows art historian Hildebrand Gurlitt who was the first director of the museum. His son Cornelius Gurlitt told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Sunday Nov. 17, 2013 that he wanted to protect the collection, built up by his late father Hildebrand and has hidden for half a century says he did so because he "loved" them. The heirs of several Jewish collectors have already come forward to claim some of the 1,406 works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse and Max Liebermann that have now come to light, saying the pictures were taken from their relatives by force, or sold under duress. (AP Photo/Kunstsammlungen Zwickau)
BERN, SWITZERLAND - MAY 08: A general view of the Museum of Fine Arts Bern (Kunstmuseum Bern) on May 8, 2014 in Bern, Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum Bern has been informed yesterday by the lawyer of German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on Monday, it will be the unrestricted and unfettered sole heir of his collection. Gurlitt's art collection of more than 1,400 works discovered in 2012 by investigators includes masters such as Renoir, Picasso, Matisse and Emil Nolde may have been taken illegally by the Nazis. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
BERN, SWITZERLAND - MAY 08: A general view of the Museum of Fine Arts Bern (Kunstmuseum Bern) on May 8, 2014 in Bern, Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum Bern has been informed yesterday by the lawyer of German art collector Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on Monday, it will be the unrestricted and unfettered sole heir of his collection. Gurlitt's art collection of more than 1,400 works discovered in 2012 by investigators includes masters such as Renoir, Picasso, Matisse and Emil Nolde may have been taken illegally by the Nazis. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Quality from source). This handout photo provided by the Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg, the German government agency charged with documenting and ascertaining the origins of artworks appropriated by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, shows the work 'Man And Woman At A Window' by Wilhelm Lachnit on November 18, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The work is among 25 shown on the Lost Art website and among the approximately 1,400 works German authorities confiscated from the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis. (Photo Courtesy Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Magdeburg via Getty Images)
Portrait of Wolfgang Gurlitt. Found in the collection of Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Portrait of the German art historian and architect Cornelius Gurlitt. About 1936. Photograph. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) Portrait Cornelius Gurlitt. Deutscher Kunsthistoriker und Architekt. Um 1936. Photographie.
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BERLIN (AP) - A Swiss museum agreed on Monday to accept a priceless collection of long-hidden art bequeathed to it by German collector Cornelius Gurlitt, but said it will work with German officials to ensure any pieces looted by the Nazis from Jewish owners are returned.

German authorities in 2012 seized 1,280 pieces from Gurlitt's apartment while investigating a tax case, including works by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. Gurlitt died in May, designating Switzerland's Kunstmuseum Bern as his sole heir.

The museum's president, Christoph Schaeublin, told reporters in Berlin that the Kunstmuseum Bern had decided to accept the collection after long, difficult deliberations.

"The ultimate aim was to clarify how the Kunstmuseum Bern could meet the responsibilities imposed upon them by the bequest," Schaeublin said.

Shortly before he died, Gurlitt reached a deal with the German government to check whether hundreds of the works were looted from Jewish owners by the Nazis. Authorities have said that deal is binding on any heirs, and Schaeublin said the museum would undertake extensive research to determine the provenance of the works.

According to an agreement the museum worked out with German authorities, a task force set up by the government will also continue to investigate the background of the art to determine if it was looted, and whom it was looted from.

If no owner can be found for a looted piece, the agreement calls for the work to be exhibited in Germany with an explanation of its origins so the "rightful owners will have the opportunity to submit their claims."

German officials said all works will remain in Germany until the task force finishes its work. An update on the research is expected "in the course of 2015."

One of Gurlitt's cousins has also filed claim, which a Munich court said Monday would have to be sorted out before the collection goes anywhere.

Nazi-Art Hoarder Names Swiss Museum Heir To Paintings

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