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Woman aged 89 duped in £100,000 painting fraud scam

A £100,000 painting has been stolen from the home of an 89-year-old woman who was fooled by a fraud scam, Scotland Yard said. Detectives are appealing for help to recover the haul, taken from an address in South Kensington, London, on January 18.

The Comet of 1858 by Samuel Palmer. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

It included The Comet of 1858 by Samuel Palmer, plus jewellery and bank cards. The woman was telephoned by someone claiming that her bank cards had been used in a crime and that she needed to contact her bank. She tried to call the bank but the caller had not hung up and stayed on the line.

The victim believed she was speaking to her bank, but in fact it was still the original caller who told her that someone would attend her address and collect her cards. They also asked if she had anything of value in the house and the victim mentioned the painting, Scotland Yard said.


Unknown works by masters among Nazi art find

Previously unknown artworks by masters including Marc Chagall, Otto Dix, Max Liebermann and Henri Matisse are among those found inside a flat in Munich.

A self-portrait by Otto Dix was among the loot, discovered in a flat in Munich. Credit: Reuters

Read: Art looted by Nazis found in German city of Munich

Prosecutors said the issue of ownership was still to be clarified. The total value has been estimated at about €1billion (£846 million).

Other artists whose works were found include Pablo Picasso and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as Canaletto and Gustave Courbet.

Watch: Lost art turns up in Munich flat

'Lion Tamer' among looted paintings already sold

The vast trove of modern art seized under Germany's Nazi regime, including works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, was discovered in a Munich apartment among stacks of rotting groceries, German magazine Focus reported.

The Lion Tamer by Max Beckmann was one of the paintings that has already been sold.

Customs investigators made the find in 2011 after a 76-year-old man travelling by train from Zurich to Munich aroused suspicion at the border when he was found carrying a large, albeit legal, amount of cash.

The apartment building in Munich where it is believed that German customs officials discovered missing artworks. Credit: Reuters

Focus said Cornelius Gurlitt, a recluse, had funded himself by occasionally selling a painting.


German customs 'stunned with what we found'

Commenting on the discovery of a collection of around 1,500 artworks looted by the Nazis in Munich, a customs official is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying:

We were stunned with what we found. From floor to ceiling, from bedroom to bathroom, were piles and piles of old food in tins and old noodles, much of it from the 1980s.

And behind it all these pictures. They are worth over a billion euros [over £850million] we are told, but the real worth is inestimable. They are treasures

Read more: Looted Nazi art 'found in Munich'

Historian attempting to establish looted art owners

German art historian Meike Hoffmann has been trying to establish the origin and value of around 1,500 artworks found in Munich that were looted by the Nazis in the 1930's and 1940's.

One of the works was reported to be a Matisse painting previously owned by Jewish collector Paul Rosenberg.

His granddaughter Anne Sinclair, the French journalist and ex-wife of the former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss Kahn has been campaigning for many years for the return of looted art.

Read: Art looted by Nazis 'found in German city of Munich'

International warrants out for some of looted Nazi art

At least 200 of 1,500 artworks discovered in Germany that were confiscated by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940 are the subject of international warrants, news magazine Focus reports.

The collection is reported to include artworks by master painters such as Picasso, Chagall and Matisse with an estimated value of about one billion euros (£846m).

The works are being held in a secure warehouse in Munich at present while art historians attempt to determine the origin and value of the images.

Read: Art looted by Nazis 'found in German city of Munich'

Art looted by Nazis 'found in German city of Munich'

A collection of approximately 1,500 paintings confiscated by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s has been found in Munich, German magazine focus reports.

It is said to include artworks by master painters such as Picasso, Chagall and Matisse with an estimated value of about one billion euros (£846m).

Some of the works were declared as "degenerate" by the Nazis during the Third Reich, others were stolen from or sold by Jewish art collectors involuntarily.

Focus said the collection was found in 2011 when the tax authorities investigating the reclusive son of an art dealer in Munich obtained a search warrant for his home.

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