Henry Moore sketch found in Nazi trove
An authentic watercolour sketch by Henry Moore, one of the most famous British artists of the 20th century, has been identified among the notorious Gurlitt hoard of more than 1,500 works, many of them Nazi loot inherited by German art dealer Cornelius Gurlitt from his father.
The coloured sketch of reclining figures, dating from the 1920s, has been identified through the BBC programme Fake or Fortune? and is believed to be the only UK work in the hoard of paintings and drawings discovered in Germany in 2012.
Although many of the works of art including pieces by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso and Otto Dix have deeply tainted origins, stolen by the Nazis or the result of forced sales from Jewish collectors, the programme also established that the drawing, dating from the 1920s, was given by Moore to a German museum, and was bought before the war by Gurlitt’s father.
The programme was asked to investigate the authenticity of the drawing by the Kunstmuseum in Bern, the oldest fine art museum in Switzerland, which emerged as Gurlitt’s sole heir when he died of heart failure in 2014. Works from the collection are being exhibited in Bern and at a museum in Bonn.
Philip Mould, an art expert and co-presenter of the programme, said the drawing was a fascinating early work by Moore. “Not only do we now know it is totally genuine, but it has been cleansed of the evil prospect that it was looted Nazi art, which will allow Bern to once again display it to the public.”
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