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February 19, 2014 1:12 pm

Nazi-Era Painting Hoarder Begins Talks With Claimants, Launches Website

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Nazis posing with art in Venice, Italy. Photo: Wikipedia.

German art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt, 81, began talks with claimants over 40 paintings from his collection of 1,400 works in his homes in Germany and Austria that were willed to him by his father, Hildebrant Gurlitt, who, during World War II, was tasked with selling art regarded by the Nazis as un-German, the BBC reported on Monday, citing Hannes Hartung, Gurlitt’s lawyer.

The trove of paintings, valued at up to $1.6 billion, was confiscated from his Munich flat by the German government in 2012.

Stephan Holzinger, Gurlitt’s spokesman, said additional claims would be accepted via a new website, meant to “make clear anew our readiness for dialogue – toward the public and toward possible claimants,” the BBC reported.

A statement from Gurlitt on the site reads: “I only wanted to live with my pictures, in peace and calm.”

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