Reports have surfaced that over 1400 artworks worth as much as $1.35 billion, seized by the Nazis during WWII, were discovered in an apartment in Munich, Germany. Masterpieces by Picasso, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, along with paintings by German impressionists Max Beckmann and Franz Marc, as well as previously unknown pieces by Chagall and Matisse, were found mostly stacked and unframed in a drawer in the apartment

According to National Public Radio’s article on the discovery, “Some of the works were almost certainly looted by the Nazis; others were sold by Jewish collectors who were under extreme duress. And some works were culled from German museums for being ‘degenerate art’ that didn’t conform with Nazi ideology.” The hoard of artwork was uncovered by German tax officials during an investigation they were conducting of German citizen Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a man who was recruited by Joseph Goebbels during WWII to sell what the Nazis deemed “degenerate art” overseas, in order to raise cash for the state.

According to the New York Times, experts are saying that this is the most significant collection of Nazi-looted artwork discovered since “‘the Allies discovered the hoards in the salt mines and the castles.'”

Lawsuits will likely begin very soon by families looking to recover art they lost, when it was seized by the Nazis. Criticism is being lobbed at the German government, since the art was allegedly discovered sometime in 2012, but information was just recently released to the public.


Tom, President of FACE, has specialized in fine art and collectibles insurance for over 20 years with firms such as Allen Insurance Associates, Kaye Fine Arts & Special Risks Group and Thomson and Pratt Insurance Associates. A California State University, Northridge (CSUN) alumnus with a degree in Theatre Arts, Tom has also studied Art History at Santa Monica College, UCLA and in Paris, France. Civic activities are important to Tom. He was elected President of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education (1998-2002) and was appointed to the Arts Commission for the City of Santa Monica (2003) as well as the Public Access Television Commission for Calaveras County (2011). He has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Dean’s Council for the School of Arts at CSUN, Social & Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) and the Rotary Club. Tom is a member of the organization California Lawyers for the Arts and also serves as an expert witness for art insurance related matters from time to time.