An art historian is reviewing two "suspicious cases" related to possible Nazi-looted artwork found in what could be considered a surprising hiding place: the German parliament.
The news comes just a month after Nazi-stolen artwork valued up to $1.38 billion was discovered in a Munich apartment, according to Reuters.
Bundestag, the national parliament of Germany, didn't officially confirm the find but said in a statement to German newspaper Bild on Monday that an art historian was looking into the latest case.
Bundestag in Berlin. (Image source: Wikimedia)
According to Reuters, one of the pieces found in the parliament is thought to belong to the family of Cornelius Gurlitt, a man whose father obtained the artwork under what newspaper Der Spiegel described as "dubious circumstances in the Nazi era." It was Gurlitt's apartment that was raided last month and yielded a stash of artwork.
Artwork from museums and individual owners was rounded up during the Nazi era, prompting investigations since the fall of the regime to return the pieces to rightful owners. As Reuters reported, it's unknown how many looted pieces are still missing.
This undated picture provided by Museum Kunstpalast Duesseldorf shows a painting by Bernardo Belotto with the St. Charles Church in Vienna, the subject of another looted artwork case. The German government has refused a request to hand back two paintings once owned by a Jewish businessman who was persecuted by the Nazis. Germany'�s Finance Ministry says it won'��t return the 18th-century paintings by Bellotto to the heirs of Max Emden because he had already fled to Switzerland when he sold them. (AP/Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Horst Kolberg)
Reuters has more about the two pieces reported to be found in the parliament:
Bild said the two works were an oil painting, 'Chancellor Buelow speaking in the Reichstag', by Georg Waltenberger dated 1905, and a chalk lithography entitled 'Street in Koenigsberg' by Lovis Corinth.
The Bundestag's art collection comprises around 4,000 works and Bild said investigations had found some 108 pieces so far of unknown provenance.
About four years ago, it returned a portrait of former German chancellor Otto von Bismarck in a hat by Franz von Lenbach to its original owners after it was found to have been stolen by the Nazis.
The Central Council of Jews has asked the parliament to publish the artwork in its collection.
"If the Bundestag is keeping lists of its collection secret, hindering the press in its investigations, protecting the perpetrators of Aryanization and not informing the heirs, I would wish those responsible to show more sensibility and tact," Council President Dieter Graumann told Bild, according to Reuters.
The German parliament began investigating its own art collection in 2012.