An art treasure trove confiscated from an elderly recluse who had stashed it away for decades has been released by a German court.
The paintings include worked by Canaletto, Matisse and Chagall.
The court’s decision follows an agreement by Cornelius Gurlitt to cooperate with an investigation into whether some of the art works were stolen.
Gurlitt’s lawyer Stephan Holzinger said:
“It is a good, a very good day for Cornelius Gurlitt more than two years after his pictures were confiscated. From the begining we felt that the confiscation was unreasonable and illegal.”
The paintings were found at Gurlitt’s flat during a tax probe. His father who was an art expert had been ordered by Adolf Hittler to buy so-called “degenerate art” to fund Nazi activities.
It is believed that some may have been stolen from Jewish owners. However prosecuters now say others probably belonged to the Gurlitt family.The search to discover the original owners of at least half of the 1,280 works will continue.