France to return Klimt painting looted by Nazis

France will return a painting by Gustav Klimt to the Jewish family from which it was looted by Austrian Nazis in 1938.

“Rose Bushes Under Trees,” painted by the Austrian artist around 1904-05, will be returned to the family of Holocaust victim Nora Stiasny, France’s culture minister Roselyne Bachelot announces.

“The restoration of looted items is an ardent obligation. It is the honor of the Republic to do so, the honor of France,” she says.

‘Rose Bushes Under Trees’ by Gustav Klimt (Public Domain)

The painting was bought in 1911 by Stiasny’s uncle, a Jewish Austrian collector named Viktor Zuckerkandl. She was forced to sell it very cheaply shortly after the Nazis came to power in Austria in 1938 at a time when Jewish families were being frozen out of the economy.

It was bought by Stiasny’s former lover, Philipp Haeusler, who had joined the Nazi party and managed to hide his past after the war.