Looted Nazi art to be auctioned off

first_imgLOS ANGELES – Four of five Gustav Klimt oil paintings at the center of a restitution battle between the Austrian government and the artworks’ Jewish heirs will probably be auctioned off at Christie’s this fall, the attorney for the heirs said Monday. In announcing the pending sale on Sunday, the president of Christie’s said the decision to auction or privately sell the works – three landscapes and a portrait worth an estimated $100 million – was yet to be determined. But attorney Steven Thomas said Monday they “will likely” be put up for auction in November. “The family only recently decided to sell the paintings,” Thomas said. “They’re all great pictures,” Lauder said. “Each one would have something to add to the Neue Galerie’s collection. But if the buyer is not the Neue Galerie, I hope they will end up in other museums.” Altmann told the Times it did not matter to her whether Christie’s arranges an auction or private sales of the Klimts. “I’ve never been to an auction, so I think it would be exciting,” Altmann said. “I’m simply hoping for the best,” she added. “So far fate has been very good to me.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesThe paintings are currently on display at the Neue Galerie, a New York museum of German and Austrian art, along with one of Klimt’s most famous works, an ornate portrait of Viennese art patron Adele Bloch-Bauer from 1907. The five Klimt paintings were handed over by Austria in January to Maria Altmann of Los Angeles, Bloch-Bauer’s niece, and other family members following a seven-year legal battle. An arbitration court had ruled that they were improperly seized when the Nazis took over the country during World War II. The paintings temporarily went on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from April to June. Then cosmetics mogul Ronald S. Lauder purchased the gold-flecked portrait of Bloch-Bauer for a reported $135 million, topping the previous listed world art record of $104.2 million for a Picasso. The other portrait to be sold at Christie’s is a lesser known, colorful portrait of Bloch-Bauer executed between 1903 and 1916. Lauder, the co-founder of the Neue Galerie, told The New York Times he would consider purchasing one or more of the available paintings “if the price is right.” last_img read more

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