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18 March, 2006
Klimt in Los Angeles
I’m quite excited about this:
FIVE multimillion-dollar paintings by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt — looted by the Nazis and recently returned by the Austrian government to the family of Maria Altmann in Los Angeles — will go on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Two portraits of Altmann's aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, and three landscapes will be exhibited from April 4 through June 30.I’ve been following the story of Maria Altmann since she filed suit against the Austrian government to reclaim these family heirlooms stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
After seven years, Los Angeles-based Altmann, now 90 years old, won against considerable odds: in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court declared her and the other heirs of industrialist Ferdinand Bloch Bauer -- Adele’s husband and the person who commissioned the paintings from Klimt -- the rightful owners. An Austrian arbitration panel confirmed this decision last January, paving the way for the paintings' return to the family.
Their estimated current worth? $300 million.
My favorite painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) is the most famous proponent of Viennese Jugendstil (Art Noveau). There is an ethereal, timeless quality to his work that I like, not to mention the bold colors and themes that are heavily influenced by the antiquities and the East.
Other than the world-renowned The Kiss, The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is perhaps his most famous painting from his so-called “golden period”.
The LACMA also announced that another Bloch-Bauer portrait will be exhibited, as well as Apfelbaum (Apple Tree), Buchenwald/Birkenwald (Beech Forest/Birch Forest) and Haeuser in Unterach am Attersee (Houses in Unterach on Attersee Lake).
The five paintings, which until recently hung in the Austrian National Gallery Belvedere in Vienna, have never been previously exhibited together in the U.S.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-857-6000 (general information)
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