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Cornelius Gurlitt Who Hid 1,400 Art Works For Decades Was A Tragic Figure, Cousin Says

posted 8 Nov 2013, 17:24 by Mpelembe   [ updated 8 Nov 2013, 17:25 ]

Cornelius Gurlitt, in whose Munich apartment German customs seized 1,400 art works, was a "lonely, tragic figure" never interested in making money, his cousin says.

 BARCELONASPAIN (NOVEMBER 07, 2013) (REUTERS) -  The German man who hid 1,400 prints and paintings by Picasso and other artists for decades and who made international headlines earlier this week was not out to make money with the trove, his cousin said in Spain on Friday (November 8).

Speaking in BarcelonaEkkehart Gurlitt, cousin of Cornelius Gurlitt, told Reuters "if he wanted to make money... he could have sold (the collection) in these 60 years. He could have sold at least the Picassos to museums or to rich people. But he was not interested in making money. He wanted to make money to make his own living, so sometimes he sold some pictures, but only to make his own living, nothing more," said Gurlitt, who is a professional photographer.

Asked to describe Cornelius Gurlitt, Ekkehart said "he was a type of lonesome cowboy, a lonely soul and a tragic figure."

"He was always a gentleman dressed in fine clothes who was of course proud that his father at the time was one of the four selected men who were trusted -- as a non-Aryan, imagine that -- to take care of the paintings considered 'degenerate art' which were removed from museums."

Previously unknown paintings by Henri Matisse and Otto Dix are among a vast trove of Nazi-looted art found in a Munich apartment that includes works by some of Europe's most celebrated artists, according to German experts.

Customs investigators seized the 1,400 art works, dating from the 16th century to the modern period and by artists such as Canaletto, Courbet, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, last year, according to officials.