Cornelius Gurlitt, the German art collector who maintained a vast collection of artworks by European masters that were looted by the Nazis, has died at the age of 81.
According to Bloomberg, he died today in the Munich apartment where a trove of 1,400 paintings, drawings and prints by artists including Matisse, Picasso and Gauguin, valued at over $1.4 billion, was discovered in 2012.
The trove of works was discovered after Gurlitt raised suspicions when he was found carrying 9,000 Euros (about $125,000) when crossing the Swiss border in 2010, leading to a 2012 raid on his apartment, according to Bloomberg. He inherited the cache of artworks from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, who was authorized by the Nazis to sell abroad modernist works of art, considered “degenerate” by the Nazis.
The artworks are currently in the hands of a task force formed by the German government to identify the works and ascertain their provenance, reports the New York Times.