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Bern museum issues list of Nazi-looted artworks

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23:31 CET+01:00
The Bern Museum of Fine Arts published on Thursday the first list of the more than 1,500 artworks hoarded during the Nazi era that it inherited from a German recluse.

The museum listed a total of about 1,600 works, divided into 41 categories, including valuable paintings and sketches by Picasso, Monet, Chagall and other masters discovered at two homes owned by Cornelius Gurlitt.
   
Gurlitt, who died last May aged 81, was the son of an art dealer tasked by Adolf Hitler with helping to plunder great works from museums and Jewish collectors, many of whom perished in the gas chambers.
   
He left his vast collection to the Swiss museum, which after six months of negotiations agreed this week to take the works.  

Around 500 works of dubious provenance will remain in Germany so that a government-appointed task force can continue its research on identifying the heirs.
   
Among the works on the list published Thursday were Claude Monet's "Evening landscape", a fruit dish still life by Picasso, and "Two women" by Renoir.
   
"We have promised transparency and are now acting accordingly. We are therefore happy to be able to release, only three days after deciding to sign the agreement, the information we currently have at our disposal," Matthias Frehner, head of the Bern museum, said in a statement.
   
He said that "the ongoing categorization has not been completed in full yet."
   
The museum vowed to fill out the lists in the future, for instance by attributing more of the works to artists and improving the quality of the photos of the pictures.
   
The full list can be viewed at http://www.kunstmuseumbern.ch.

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