German Says Nazi-Looted Art is Love of His Life

Cornelius Gurlitt says he won't give up his works without a fight

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The German man discovered with a trove of missing priceless paintings looted by Nazis isn’t going to hand over his art without a fight.

Cornelius Gurlitt, 80, told German news magazine Der Spiegel in his first extensive interview that “there is nothing I have loved more in my life than my pictures.” The collection includes paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Renoir.

Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was a dealer commissioned by Nazis to sell illegal works in exchange for hard currency. The missing paintings Gurlitt kept were believed to be lost or destroyed, but a Feburary 2012 routine customs investigation revealed that Cornelius Gurlitt had been hiding more than 1,400 works in his Munich apartment.

Gurlitt maintains his father obtained the paintings lawfully, which makes him the legal owner, but state authorities are investigating him on charges of tax evasion and misappropriation of assets.

[Der Spiegel]