Matisse Painting in Munich Hoarder's Collection Looted by Nazis

'Seated Woman' Was Snatched From French Jewish Collector


By JTA

Published June 12, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A painting by Henri Matisse in the collection of Cornelius Gurlitt in Munich was stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owner, a German task force confirmed.

The confirmation on the work “Seated Woman” was announced Wednesday by the task force set up by the German government to research more than 1,000 works confiscated from Gurlitt’s apartment in 2012 during an investigation for tax evasion.

It is unclear when the heirs of Parisian art collector Paul Rosenberg will see the painting returned.

Gurlitt had inherited the collection from his father, Hildebrand, who was hired by the Nazis to buy art for its museums or to sell for profit.

Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, who heads the task force, said in a statement that “though it is not clear how Hildebrand Gurlitt ended up with the painting,” it is clear that “Seated Woman” was ”looted by the Nazis from the collection of its rightful owner, Paul Rosenberg.”

According to German news reports, Matisse created the work in the 1920s. The task force said it was most likely stolen by the Nazis and then bought by a Paris-based art dealer, Gustav Rochlitz, who had a close connection to Hitler’s chief lieutenant, Hermann Goering.

Reportedly, Goring possessed the work for a while. Eventually it reached Hildebrand Gurlitt, who died in 1956.

In March, Cornelius Gurlitt declared his readiness to return the painting to Rosenberg’s heirs, but he died before the negotiations were complete. Meanwhile, another potential claimant surfaced.

Complicating matters further, Gurlitt in his will left the entire collection to the Art Museum Bern Foundation in Switzerland but pledged to return all works identified as having been “stolen or robbed” by the Nazis. Gurlitt’s court-appointed attorney Christoph Edel said in March that relatively few works in the collection would fall into that category.

The museum has not decided if it will accept the gift.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.