Tue Feb 14, 5:45 PM ET
A painting by Austrian icon Egon Schiele, looted during the Nazi era and
now in the possession of a provincial museum, will be returned to its
owner, government officials said.
“Hafen von Triest” (“Trieste Harbor”) is the sixth work by a famed
Austrian artist to be returned in recent weeks under restitution laws
mandating such action for art looted by the Nazis from predominantly
Jewish owners.
A statement from the provincial government of Styria said Monday that
the picture would be displayed at the Joanneum museum in Graz, the
provincial capital, until its return. It offered no further details.
Last month, an arbitration court ruled that five paintings by Gustav
Klimt – including one with an estimated value exceeding $120 million –
must be returned by the National Gallery in Vienna to Maria Altmann of
Beverly Hills, Calif. Altmann, 89, a retired clothing boutique owner,
was one of the heirs of the Jewish family that owned the paintings
before the Nazis took over Austria in 1938.
Austria’s decision to give up those artworks represents its costliest
concession since it began returning valuable art objects looted by the
Nazis under the cultural property return law enacted in 1998.