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Swiss Museum Will Accept Artworks From Cornelius Gurlitt's Trove

MAINZ, Germany — A Swiss museum has agreed to accept artworks from a long-hidden collection worth more than $1 billion that was discovered in a recluse's apartment.

Cornelius Gurlitt's trove was found by tax inspectors who visited his Munich home in 2012. It included Nazi-looted masterpieces that had been taken away from Jewish owners and art museums across Europe.

The works were bequeathed by Gurlitt to the Art Museum Bern when he died at the age of 81 in May. But Christoph Schaeublin, president of the museum's foundation board, told a news conference on Monday that the museum would only accept those parts of the collection that had not been plundered by the Nazis.

"Looted art, or works that are suspected of having been looted will not come in touch with the Art Museum Bern, they will not even come onto Swiss ground," he said.

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German government officials said the work of the task force that is investigating the origin of the works in Gurlitt's collection will continue. It has already proven that three works were looted by the Nazis.

The art trove included masterpieces by Chagall, Matisse and Picasso. It was collected by Gurlitt's father, who was an art dealer connected to the Nazi regime. Authorities seized more than 1,200 works from Gurlitt's apartment in 2012 and later found about 300 more at a house in Salzburg, Austria. Before his death, Gurlitt appointed the museum as his sole heir. However, one of Gurlitt's cousins has also made a claim to the collection.

Reuters contributed to this report