An 80-year old resident of the German city of Munich had 1500 masterpieces secretly stockpiled in his apartment. The paintings were created by masters of classical modernity, like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann and Max Liebermann. A Berlin art historian estimates the value on one billion euros.
Art was looted by the nazis
According to the German magazine Focus, the paintings were confiscated by the nazis in the 1930’s and 40’s, either from Jewish art collectors, or as ‘entartete Kunst’ degenerate art. The paintings were bought by a collector, who lived in Munich. After the war he claimed that he had stored all his art in a repository in Dresden, and that all the paintings were subsequently burned after the devastating bombing of the city on February 15th 1945 . It was generally believed the masterpieces were lost to humanity.
Art dealer’s son sold art now and then and lived the good life
As it turns out, the son of the art dealer inherited the huge collection. He hoarded the masterpieces in his apartment for more than 50 years. He kept the paintings in darkened rooms, littered with old tin cans and piles of rotten food. When the policemen entered the house, the pensioner didn’t resist, stating that ‘they could have spared themselves the trouble, as ‘I am going to die soon anyway’.
During his lifetime, the ‘Münchener’ had sold some of the paintings and lived of the proceedings. In 2011, the 80-year old was caught crossing the Swiss border with a suspicious amount of cash on him. An investigation was started that lead to this spectacular discovery.
The confiscated paintings are now in a security area near Munich. It is expected that a struggle for rightfull ownership will commence soon.