Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Klimt's Kome To LA!

Kevin over at LAOBSERVED reports on a LACMA press release about the famous five Klimt's:

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.

Go to Kevin's to read the rest of the press release. Now the question is - who is going to write the check to keep them here?

New York Times article - second to last item:

And now the LA Times take:,1,2644421.story?coll=la-headlines-california

LACMA to show Klimts

Suzanne MuchnicTimes Staff WriterMarch 16, 2006

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.

"It's a great thing for Los Angeles," said Michael Govan, who was recently appointed director of LACMA and will take charge of the museum April 1 — three days before the exhibition opens. "There are so many of these stories about works moving around and leaving. It's nice to see such extraordinary works arriving in Los Angeles. "Altmann fought a seven-year legal battle for the paintings on behalf of her family. One of five heirs to the works — valued at about $300 million — she led the fight because the others live in Canada, which does not sue foreign governments, she said.

The exhibition was initiated by Stephanie Barron, LACMA's senior curator of modern art, in January after an Austrian arbitration court ordered its government to turn over the paintings to Altmann, whose family fled Vienna in 1938. Barron proposed the show in a letter to Altmann's attorney, Randol Schoenberg, who presented the idea to Altmann.

And... in closing...

The exhibition is sure to raise questions about the possibility that the paintings might join the Los Angeles museum's permanent collection. That will be up to the heirs, and no decision has been made, Schoenberg said.But the museum's staff can hope. "Should there be some way to make this exhibition something that would be forever available," Barron said, "that would be extraordinary."

The main point I did not know is that there are FIVE heirs - and not just the woman in Los Angeles who own the paintings. This, of course, considerably complicates making a deal to keep the paintings in Los Angeles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, there are several heirs, and there is much to their story that has not been told. There are family members that can be traced back through the documentation on the lawyer Schoenberg's website and they in turn have children, and grandchildren, whose lives may be affected by the outcome as well.