Five paintings by Gustav Klimt that were looted by the Nazis during World War II are on their way to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They left Vienna's Austrian Gallery Belvedere yesterday; LACMA has yet to put out the word. Ownership of the paintings was awarded in January to a Cheviot Hills woman, Maria Altmann, whose family had owned them in Austria before the war. The painting called "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" is said to be worth about $120 million.
* LACMA's release: (12:30 pm): The museum gets out a release announcing the paintings will be on display from April 4 through June 30. Excerpt:
The five masterpieces by Klimt epitomize the height of Viennese Jugendstil. They include two portraits of Maria Altmann’s aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer (1881–1925) and three landscapes, Beechwood (1903), Apple Tree I (ca. 1911), and Houses in Unterach on Lake Atter (1916). The five paintings, which until recently hung in the Austrian Gallery Belvedere in Vienna, have never before been shown together in the United States.
“We are extremely grateful to Maria Altmann and her family for sharing these iconic works with the people of Los Angeles,' said Michael Govan, who has recently been appointed LACMA’s Director. 'These paintings are extraordinary examples from this rich period of art history and we are especially pleased to tell the story surrounding the family, its relationship to the artist, and their ownership of the paintings to our visitors from around the world.”
“In gratitude to the City and County of Los Angeles,” stated Maria Altmann, “which provided me a home when I fled the Nazis, and whose courts enabled me to recover my family’s paintings at long last, I am very pleased that these wonderful paintings will be seen at LACMA. It was always the wish of my uncle and aunt to make their collection available to the public.”