The French government said that it will return a Gustav Klimt landscape painting that the Nazis stole in 1938 from Jews to the descendants of its rightful owners.
The painting, “Rosebushes under the Trees,” will be returned to the family of Nora Stiasny, a Holocaust victim from a prominent Austrian family who was forced to sell the painting in August 1938, the Associated Press reported Monday. She and her family were deported to occupied Poland and murdered in 1942.
“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,” French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin told a Paris news conference. The painting has for many years been at the Musée d’Orsay museum in Paris, which said it had investigated the painting’s provenance when it acquired “Rosebushes” in 1980.
“It is in recent years that the true origin of the painting has been established,” Bachelot-Narquin said, adding that it was “the only Gustav Klimt painting owned by France.”
In 2017 a floral Gustav Klimt painting was sold for about $50 million at Sotheby’s in London, the BBC reported. “Rosebushes under the Trees” has not yet been appraised.