Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio


Gurlitt, Looting, Nazi, Nazi Looting, World War II, Matisse, Pissarro


Part of Hitler's plan to eradicate the Jewish population in Europe was the systematic seizure or destruction of works of art from important Jewish collections. Museums and art law experts have been involved with the restitution of works of art since the end of the war, but since Germany amended their restitution laws in 1998, many more cases have come to light. None is as impressive as the case of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of one of Hitler's art dealers, whose house was searched in uncovered a trove of 1500 modernist paintings, previously believed to be lost or destroyed. This study will present for the first time a comprehensive examination of the works discovered and the issues involved in the legal struggles that have ensued regarding their ownership.