German stolen art website down because of demand

BERLIN (AP) — A website featuring artworks from among a massive trove discovered in a Munich apartment crashed Tuesday because of heavy traffic, officials said, as a handful of potential heirs came forward to claim art possibly looted by the Nazis.

Authorities posted 25 paintings from the more than 1,400 paintings, drawings and other works discovered in the apartment of 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a dealer who worked with the Nazis. But the website — www.lostart.de — was overwhelmed by interest, according to Sabine Kramer from the government-run Lost Art Internet Database.

“There are simply too many people who want to look at the pictures and that’s why we’re facing technical problems,” Kramer said.

As German officials scrambled to respond to criticism that they have been slow to make details public, several families came forward to stake their claims. Among them were the heirs of Fritz Salo Glaser, a Jewish lawyer from Dresden, who a lawyer says owned 13 of the 25 paintings listed online.

Officials had initially released few details about what was found in Gurlitt’s apartment in part of an ongoing tax investigation, but the haul was known to have included works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and others. Bowing to demands to release more information, the government said Monday it believes about 590 of the more than 1,400 artworks may have been stolen by the Nazis.

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