April 8, 2014 - 09:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The heir of a Nazi-era art dealer said Monday, April 7 he had struck an accord with the German government setting a one-year deadline on provenance research for his vast hoard of paintings, Agence France-Presse reported.
The agreement more than two years after their shock discovery in a customs probe means that Cornelius Gurlitt, 81, will likely get back many of the hundreds of artworks that were seized by German authorities.
But the deal with the federal and Bavarian state governments will also speed up the search for rightful owners of the works, many of which are believed to have been looted from Jewish collectors under Adolf Hitler.
Gurlitt had stashed around 1,400 artworks in his Munich apartment including long-lost paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall.
"Works on which provenance research cannot be completed by the task force within the year will be returned to Cornelius Gurlitt," the parties said in a joint statement, referring to a government body researching ownership claims.
"If restitution claims are made or could arise at the end of the year deadline, the works will remain held by a trust."
Gurlitt will also be able to appoint one expert to the task force to ensure his interests are represented, while the costs for the provenance research will be picked up by the state.
More than 200 paintings, sketches and sculptures discovered in a separate home of Gurlitt's in Salzburg, Austria including works by Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Gauguin are not covered by the German agreement.