France's Only Klimt Painting Will Be Returned to Nazi-Persecuted Owner's Heirs

  • March 16, 2021 16:20

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Gustav Klimt, Rosiers sous les arbres (Roses under the Trees), 1904-05, oil on canvas. © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Patrice Schmidt

A landscape painting by Gustav Klimt will be restituted more than 80 years after the Nazis looted the work from a Jewish family in Austria.

Klimt's "Rosebushes Under the Trees," an oil dating to 1905, has been displayed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris for decades. The provenance for the work, the only painting by Klimt in France's national collections, was recently established after an investigation, according to French officials.

In a press conference, French culture minister Roselyne Bachelo said, “the decision to return a major work from the public collections illustrates our commitment to the duty of justice and reparation vis-a-vis plundered families.”

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Bachelo noted that French instiutions have recently been more pro-active in provenance research; notably, the Louvre is currently reviewing all acquisitions it made between 1933 and 1945.

The family of Nora Stiasny, a Viennese Jewish woman who died in the Holocaust, will receive the painting which was taken by the Nazis in a forced sale in August 1938.

In 2017, the Klimt painting “Apple Tree II” was returned by Austria to Stiasny’s heirs. Later, that restitution was deemed a mistake and experts led research into identifying "Rosebushes Under the Trees" as the Stiasny family's painting.

Read more at New York Times

Tags: european art

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