16 Jul 2011

Looted painting to be sold

7:57 am on 16 July 2011

A painting looted by the Nazis during World War II, is to sold by auction following its recent return to its original owner's great-nephew.

The 1915 artwork, entitled Litzlberg on the Attersee by Gustav Klimt, is expected to fetch more than $US25 million when it is sold at Sotheby's in New York on 2 November.

The painting was returned to Georges Jorisch, 83, last week by the Museum of Modern Arts in Salzburg.

A portion of the proceeds from its sale will be donated to the museum.

The work originally formed part of a collection owned by an Austrian iron magnate, Viktor Zuckerkandl. It passed to his sister Amalie Redlich in 1927.

The BBC reports she was deported in 1941 and was never heard of again. Her collection was seized by the Gestapo and sold.

The painting, which has been part of museum collections in Salzburg since 1944, was returned to Mr Jorisch, Amalie Redlich's grandson, earlier this month.

Under a 1998 restitution law, Austria has returned thousands of paintings confiscated by the Nazis to the descendants of their former owners.

Born in Vienna in 1862, Gustav Klimt was one of Austria's most celebrated painters and a leading light of the Art Nouveau movement.