search

France to return Nazi-looted Klimt artwork to rightful Jewish heirs

Landscape was forcibly sold in 1938, has been hanging in Musee d’Orsay for decades

French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot poses next to an oil painting by Gustav Klimt painted in 1905 called 'Rosebushes under the Trees,' during a ceremony at the Orsay museum in Paris, March 15, 2021. (Alain Jocard/Pool Photo via AP)
French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot poses next to an oil painting by Gustav Klimt painted in 1905 called 'Rosebushes under the Trees,' during a ceremony at the Orsay museum in Paris, March 15, 2021. (Alain Jocard/Pool Photo via AP)

PARIS, France — The French government announced Monday that it will return a Nazi-looted Gustav Klimt landscape painting to its rightful owners more than 80 years after it was stolen from a Jewish family in Austria in 1938.

The colorful 1905 oil work by the Austrian symbolist painter titled “Rosebushes under the Trees” has been hanging in Paris’ Musee d’Orsay museum for decades.

French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin told a Paris news conference that “the decision to return a major work from the public collections illustrates our commitment to the duty of justice and reparation vis-à-vis plundered families.”

The oil work will be returned to the family of Nora Stiasny, a Holocaust victim who was dispossessed, during a forced sale in August 1938.

French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot poses next to an oil painting by Gustav Klimt painted in 1905 called ‘Rosebushes under the Trees,’ during a ceremony at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, France, March 15, 2021. (Alain Jocard/ Pool Photo via AP)

Bachelot-Narquin said that French authorities had not initially identified the painting as being stolen by the Nazis, and its provenance only recently came to light, after French government-led investigations on the issue.

“It is in recent years that the true origin of the painting has been established,” she said, adding that it had been “the only Gustav Klimt painting owned by France.”

“‘Rosebushes under the Trees'” is a testament to the lives that a criminal will has stubbornly sought to eliminate.”

Thousands of artworks looted by the Nazis across Europe wound up in French museums after the Allies defeated Nazi Germany in 1945. Though many have been returned, French authorities have stepped up efforts in recent years to find homes for the scores of hanging heirlooms that remain unclaimed.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed