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“Cornelius Gurlitt inherited the works after the death of his mother Helene.
Gurlitt bought some for himself and also independently bought art from desperate Jewish dealers forced to sell.Germany has faced criticism that the restitution process is too complicated and lacks sufficient funding and has set up research schemes.The Gurlitt haul is also believed to contain a painting of a woman by Henri Matisse which belonged to Paris-based Jewish art collector Paul Rosenberg.Their “deviant” characteristics were often attributed to Jewish corruption, and thousands of such works were seized.“We don’t know how many of the 1,500 works are ‘degenerate’ works or looted by the Nazis,” said Christoph Zuschlag, an expert on “degenerate art” at the University of Koblenz.“So we need to examine each piece individually.” He cautioned against overestimating the value of the collection before it had been thoroughly assessed.
“We need to see whether these were originals or prints,” he told The Associated Press.
Interim Agreementon trade and trade-related matters between the European Community, of the one part, and the Republic of Serbia, of the other part THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY,hereinafter referred to as "the Community",of the one part, and THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA,hereinafter referred to as "Serbia",of the other part,together referred to as "the Parties", WHEREAS:(1) The Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Communities and its Member States, of the one part, and Serbia, of the other part (hereinafter referred to as "the Stabilisation and Association Agreement" or "the SAA"), was signed in Luxembourg, on 29 April 2008.(2) The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is intended to establish a close and lasting relationship based on reciprocity and mutual interest, which should allow Serbia to further strengthen and extend the already established relationship with the European Union.(3) It is necessary to ensure the development of trade links by strengthening and widening the relations established previously.(4) To this end it is necessary to implement as speedily as possible, by means of an Interim Agreement (hereinafter referred to as "this Agreement"), provisions of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on trade and trade-related matters.(5) Some of the provisions included in Protocol 4 on land transport to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which are related to road transit traffic, are directly linked to the free movement of goods and should consequently be included in this Agreement.(6) In the absence of pre-existing contractual structures this Agreement establishes an Interim Committee for the implementation of this Agreement.(7) As trade in certain textile products is regulated by the Agreement of 31 March 2005 between the European Community and the Republic of Serbia, it is recognised that it will lapse upon the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, HAVE DECIDED to conclude this Agreement and to this end have designated as their plenipotentiaries: THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITYDimitrij RUPEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, President of the Council of the European Union Olli REHN, Member of the Commission of the European Communities (hereinafter referred to as "European Commission") with responsibility for Enlargement SERBIABožidar ĐELIĆ, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia WHO, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS: TITLE IGENERAL PRINCIPLESArticle 1(SAA Article 2)Respect for democratic principles and human rights as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and as defined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, respect for principles of international law, including full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the rule of law as well as the principles of market economy as reflected in the Document of the CSCE Bonn Conference on Economic Cooperation, shall form the basis of the domestic and external policies of the Parties and constitute essential elements of this Agreement.
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After selling for 864,000 euros, Cornelius gave a portion to the heirs of the original owner.
Galerie Kornfeld, an auction house and gallery in the Swiss city of Bern, where Gurlitt auctioned paper works for 38,250 Swiss francs in 1990, said in a statement the works were purchased cheaply in 1938 by Hildebrand from a collection of state-owned art.
Focus estimated that the works found among stacks of hoarded groceries in the flat of Cornelius Gurlitt, could be worth well over 1 billion euros.