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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A Gustav Klimt landscape stolen by the Nazis and recently restituted to the heirs of its Austrian owner is expected to sell for more than $25 million at auction this Autumn, Sotheby's said on Friday.
Klimt's "Litzberg on the Attersee" is being sold by Georges Jorisch, a great-nephew of Austrian iron magnate Viktor Zuckerkandl. When he died in 1927 the work was inherited by his sister Amalie Redlich, who was Jorisch's grandmother.
Redlich was deported to Lodz in 1941 and never heard from again. Her art collection was seized by the Nazis and sold. The Klimt work ended up at the Museum de Moderne Salzberg.
Last week the museum returned the work to Jorisch.
Researchers had spent 10 years investigating and authenticating Jorisch's childhood memories and description of the canvas hanging in Zuckerkandl's modernist home in the suburb of Purkersdorf, where he lived until age 10.
"The upcoming sale will benefit not only the heirs of Amalie Redlich, but also the Museum de Moderne," Andrea Jungmann, Sotheby's Austria's managing director, said in a statement.
Jorisch, who now lives in Montreal, will donate a portion of the proceeds for an extension of the museum to be named in his grandmother honor.
Sotheby's New York head of Impressionist and modern art Simon Shaw praised the nearly 100-year-old landscape's stunning quality, rarity and important provenance.
The auction house expects the work to command upwards of $25 million when it is sold at its fall sale of Impressionist and modern art on November 2.
In February 2010 Klimt's "Church in Cassone -- Landscape with Cypresses," also originally from Zuckerkandl's collection, soared to $43 million in London, a record for a Klimt landscape.
Several works by the artist fetched astonishing prices around the peak of the boom market, with "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II" selling for $88 million. Five restituted Klimts took in a total of over $325 million.
Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Patricia Reaney