Saturday, November 5, 2011

Klimt, Gustav

Litzlberg am Attersee (Litzlberg on the Attersee)
oil on canvas
110 by 110 cm (43.25 by 43.25 in.)
Private Collection

A Gustav Klimt landscape painting, depicting a pastoral scene of towering, wooded hills rising from water into a bright sky, was stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owner.
When Hitler, who had incorporated Austria into the German Reich in 1938, decreed the “Final Solution” three years later, the lady owner of this painting and her daughter, who were Jewish, were deported to Poland. There, they vanished, dying — perhaps murdered — in circumstances unknown. By 1944, the Klimt was hanging on the walls of the Museum der Moderne Rupertinum in Salzburg. It was only returned this spring (2011) to the grandson of the lady who owned it until the Nazis came.
This painting was sold for a huge $40.4 million on Wednesday (Nov.2, 2011) at Sotheby’s in New York.

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. Klimt died in Vienna on February 6, 1918, having suffered a stroke and pneumonia due to the influenza epidemic of 1918. He was buried at the Hietzing Cemetery in Vienna. Numerous paintings were left unfinished.