France to Return Klimt Painting Sold under Duress during Nazi Era

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tags: art history, World War 2

France is to return a painting by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt to the heirs of the Jewish family that was forced to sell it by the Nazis.

French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot said restoring it to its rightful owners was an acknowledgement of the crimes they suffered.

She said the painting bore witness to the "broken lives" of the Nazi era.

The French state bought the work, its only Klimt, in 1980 without realising its history.

The pre-war owner of Rosiers sous les Arbres (Rose Bushes Under the Trees) was Nora Stiasny, from a well-known Austrian Jewish family. She had inherited it from her uncle, the Austrian industrialist and art collector Viktor Zuckerkandl, Ms Bachelot told a news conference at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Ms Stiasny was forced to sell it in August 1938 at a knock-down price to survive financially, months after the Nazis annexed Austria.

In 1942 Ms Stiasny was deported to a concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, and died the same year.

Read entire article at BBC

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