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Gurlitt Death Creates Confusion Over Art

The controversial art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt who stored thousands of paintings by artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Renoir in German and Austrian properties has died, aged 81, in Munich.

His death has created further confusion over the artworks, many of which were found to have been looted during the Nazi era by Hitler's art collector - Gurlitt's father Hildebrand.

The private collection had been kept secret for decades until an investigation by tax authorities in 2012 led to the discovery of thousands of paintings in a Munich flat and hundreds in a home in Salzburg, both belonging to Cornelius Gurlitt.

According to German media, it is understood that in his will Cornelius Gurlitt ordered the multi-million pound collection to go to a museum in Switzerland or Austria, where he had contacts. But it is not clear now how this will affect the returning of looted artworks to the rightful owners, which had already begun last month.

"There will be further delays," said the lawyer Markus Stötzel, who represents the heirs of the Jewish art collector Alfred Flechtheim.

Lawyers have confirmed that there was a will written by Gurlitt, who had no close relatives, in the weeks before he underwent heart surgery but have not confirmed if the rumours about the collection being decreed to a foreign museum are correct.

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