German Officials Locate Lost Artwork

It's been publicly announced that authorities in Munich uncovered a huge art collection in 2011 that was thought to have been lost forever. Seized by the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s, the collection reportedly includes more than 1,500 pieces — by masters like Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. The collection could be worth more than a billion dollars.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And that brings us to today's last word in business: artwork, lost and found.

Authorities in Munich, Germany have uncovered a huge art collection that was thought to have been lost forever. Seized by the Nazis in the 1930s and '40s, this collection reportedly includes more than 1,500 pieces of art by masters like Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. All told, this collection could be worth over $1 billion.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The artwork was actually found back in 2011 when authorities raided the apartment of an 80-year-old man under investigation for money laundering. But the discovery has just been made public in a report from the German magazine Focus.

INSKEEP: OK. That 80-year-old apartment owner was Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a dealer who traded in so-called degenerate art, confiscated by the government of Nazi, Germany. The Focus magazine report says Gurlitt may have made money by occasionally selling pieces. He had no stated income and authorities found some empty frames when they raided his apartment.

GREENE: Now the trove sits in a warehouse outside Munich, where art historians are trying to estimate its value and also trace the pieces back to their rightful owners.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: And Steve Inskeep.

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