Klimt painting expected to sell for $25 million
By Paula Rogo
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A landscape painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt that had been stolen by the Nazis is expected to fetch more than $25 million when it is sold at auction next month, Sotheby's said on Thursday.
"Litzlberg on the Attersee," which was returned to the heirs of its Austrian owner, will be the main attraction at the November 2 sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York.
"Klimt's landscapes are now considered to be one of the great icons of modern art," Simon Shaw, Sotheby's New York head of Impressionist and Modern Art, said in an interview.
"They are one of the most recognizable images and their appeal is truly a global one."
The work gained international attention earlier this year when Austria's Museum der Moderne Salzburg agreed to return the work to George Jorisch, the grandson of its owner. The decision followed a 2002 accord struck with Jewish organizations and the Salzburg city government to return assets stolen by the Nazis.
Jorisch, who now lives in Montreal, is the great-nephew of Austrian iron magnate Viktor Zuckerkandl, who was a great collector of Klimt landscapes. When he died in 1927 the work was inherited by his sister Amalie Redlich, Jorisch's grandmother.
Redlich was deported in 1941 to the Nazi created Lodz ghetto in Poland and never heard from again. Her art collection was seized by the Nazis, sold and ended up in the Austrian museum.
"People love a picture with a story behind it," Shaw said. "It always adds desirability when there is a story behind a painting." Continued...