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German recluse Gurlitt challenges art seizure

By Monica Raymunt BERLIN (Reuters) - A German recluse whose billion-dollar art hoard was confiscated on suspicion that it contained works looted by the Nazis has filed a first formal complaint against the seizure, his lawyers said on Wednesday. The 45-page complaint was filed at the Augsburg court in southern Germany which issued the original search order for Cornelius Gurlitt's flat. The complaint challenges the prosecutor's justification for seizing the 81-year-old's 1,407 art works on suspicion of tax evasion.

Jewish 'Monuments Man' accepts medal from German hometown

A Jewish member of the "Monuments Men", a team of experts who rescued Nazi-looted artworks during World War II, accepted a medal from his German hometown at the weekend, media reported Sunday. Harry Ettlinger, 88, who had already attended a red-carpet screening of George Clooney's new "The Monuments Men" movie about the group at the Berlin film festival last week, received the so-called Staufer Medal at an art museum in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany.

Germany grapples with draft law on Nazi-looted art

Germany this week debates a draft law to aid the return of Nazi-looted art, facing criticism of official foot-dragging after the recent shock discovery of a spectacular hoard of masterpieces. Nearly 70 years after Hitler's defeat, the bill will be presented Friday in the upper house of parliament -- which represents the 16 federal states at the national level -- with the aim of helping the restitution of art that was extorted or stolen from Jewish collectors.

Pissarro and Picasso records broken at London sale

A Paris street scene painted by Camille Pissarro sold for £19.9 million ($32.1 million, 24 million euros) at a London sale on Wednesday, almost five times the previous record for the Impressionist master at auction. The Danish-French painter's "Boulevard Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps", widely considered to be one of the most important Impressionist works to come up for sale in the last decade, went under the hammer at London's Sotheby's auction house.

Jewish leader says German museums turn blind eye to Nazi-looted art

By Monica Raymunt BERLIN (Reuters) - German museums are willfully ignoring their duty to come clean about works they hold that were looted from Jews by the Nazis, the head of the World Jewish Congress said on Thursday, and the government must do more to force them to act. Germany has faced heavy criticism over its handling of the discovery of 1,407 Nazi-plundered works in the flat of Cornelius Gurlitt, an elderly recluse whose father took orders from Hitler to buy and sell so-called 'degenerate art' to fund Nazi activities.

Germany needs law on Nazi-looted art: World Jewish Congress

Germany must introduce a law specifically aimed at facilitating the return of Nazi-looted art, the head of the World Jewish Congress said Thursday after meeting with top German officials. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said there were still thousands of priceless artworks in the hands of individuals and museums that were stolen from Jews under the Third Reich and said the country was not legally equipped to handle such cases.

Germany to boost efforts to return Nazi-looted art

Germany will boost funding for efforts to return Nazi-looted art to their rightful owners and may invite Jewish representatives to join a mediation body, the government said Wednesday. Funding for provenance research of art suspected to have been stolen will be doubled, the new minister of state for culture, Monika Gruetters, was quoted as saying in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily. She did not specify an amount.

Germany to boost efforts to return Nazi-looted art

Germany will boost funding for efforts to return Nazi-looted art to their rightful owners and may invite Jewish representatives to join a mediation body, the government said Wednesday. Funding for provenance research of art suspected to have been stolen will be doubled, the new minister of state for culture, Monika Gruetters, was quoted as saying in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily. She did not specify an amount.

Munich art hoarder's lawyer awaits proof of trove's looted status

BERLIN (Reuters) - The lawyer of a German recluse who hoarded a trove of Nazi-looted art said on Tuesday he was still waiting for German authorities to provide "clear evidence" that the paintings had been stolen. Hannes Hartung said his client was prepared for a "fair and open dialogue" with claimants searching for looted works, but that it was up to the authorities to demonstrate that the paintings they confiscated in 2012 did not belong to him.

Munich art hoarder's lawyer awaits proof of trove's looted status

BERLIN (Reuters) - The lawyer of a German recluse who hoarded a trove of Nazi-looted art said on Tuesday he was still waiting for German authorities to provide "clear evidence" that the paintings had been stolen. Hannes Hartung said his client was prepared for a "fair and open dialogue" with claimants searching for looted works, but that it was up to the authorities to demonstrate that the paintings they confiscated in 2012 did not belong to him.
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