IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Stolen Klimt paintings sent to California

Austria releases master works looted by Nazis in World War II
/ Source: The Associated Press

Five Gustav Klimt paintings that were stolen by the Nazis during World War II have been sent to a California museum, officials said Wednesday.

Among the paintings is the gold-flecked “Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” one of Klimt’s most famous works. It has an estimated value of $120 million.

“The pictures are on the way,” Klaus Pokorny, spokesman for the Austrian Gallery Belvedere, said Wednesday.

The Vienna castle had displayed the works until an arbitration court ruled earlier this year that they must be returned to Maria Altmann of Beverly Hills and other heirs of the Jewish family that owned the paintings before the Nazis took over Austria in 1938.

Altmann, 89, waged a seven-year legal battle to recover the paintings, but made clear that she preferred the works to remain on display rather than disappear into a private collection.

They were picked up for transport Tuesday and will be displayed, at least temporarily, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pokorny said.

He expressed the hope that at least “Adele” would find its way back to Austria through several private initiatives trying to raise money to buy it.

The Austrian government had hoped to buy back the paintings, but officials conceded they couldn’t afford the $300 million price tag.