At a press conference in Augsburg, the art historian who has been studying the collection since its discovery gave a first glimpse of the trove, which includes modernist works as well as older pieces dating back as far as the 16th century.
The whereabouts of the 80-year-old owner of the flat, Austrian Cornelius Gurlitt, is not known.
Treasures found in Gurlitt’s flat include works by Franz Marc; Oskar Kokoschka; Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; Pablo Picasso; Max Liebermann; Ernst Ludwig Kirchner; Max Beckmann; a Canaletto sketch of Padua; a Carl Spitzweg etching of a couple playing music and a Gustave Courbet painting of a girl with a goat.
But art historian Meike Hoffmann, of the Free University of Berlin, said the art world would be particularly excited about the discovery of a Matisse painting from around 1920 and works that were previously unknown or unseen: an Otto Dix self-portrait dated around 1919, and a Chagall gouache painting of a metaphorical scene. Hoffmann said it had been “an incredible feeling of joy” to discover these paintings in good condition.
Customs officials also used the press conference to correct a number of initial press reports. They said the flat had been raided in March 2012, not in early 2011 as Focus magazine reported on Sunday.