The Museum of Modern Arts in Salzburg, Austria has decided to return a Klimt painting in their possession to the rightful owner, after it had been seized by Nazis during World War II.
Gustav Klimt’s "Litzlberg am Attersee" was painted in 1915 and valued at approximately €30 million ($44 million). The landscape painting is currently in the Salzburg museum’s permanent collection.
"As painful as returning this painting is for the collection, the province and all of Austria, I believe the Salzburg government must stay on the path started in 2002 and not allow itself to benefit from a criminal regime," stated Wilfried Haslauer, Salzburg deputy governor.
In 2002, an accord was struck with Jewish organizations ensuring that all Nazi commandeered assets would be returned to rightful owners.
Art experts commissioned by the museum, traced the origins of the painting, and confirmed that Amalie Redlich, a Jewish collector residing near Vienna, owned it. The Gestapo confiscated the work, and tragically, Redlich was deported to Poland where she later died in a concentration camp. Redlich’s grandson and only surviving heir is 83 year-old Georges Jorisch, who resides in Montreal.
"The conditions for a return of the painting to Amalie Redlich's rightful heirs have been fulfilled," Haslauer said. "Therefore I will recommend that the Salzburg government return the artwork to Georges Jorisch."
Government officials are expected to approve the restitution no later than July.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life
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