Art Lives On

The dramatic story of the exquisite Gustav Klimt paintings stolen by the Nazis continues. Five of the paintings, originally owned by the Adele family and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, and appropriated by Vienna’s Austrian Gallery, were recovered through the non-stop efforts of niece Maria Altmann and attorney E. Randol Schoenberg .The paintings have been on exhibit in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art since April 4 and due to depart June 20.

Stories are now abounding as to their future. Will it go to exhibition? Sale? Movie rights? As might be anticipated, many museums and galleries have made their offers known to the five heirs, including Los Angeles resident Altmann and their lawyer.

One reported offer on which I checked is Ron Lauder (as in Estee Lauder), who wants to acquire the paintings for New York’s Neue Galerie and Museum of German and Austrian Art. Lauder is its benefactor and president. A call to the Galerie said a Klimt exhibit was to start in July. But the estate’s attorney insisted to me “There’s no rush. Nothing’s sold — everything’s on the table.”

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