Paintings looted by Nazis returned to LA woman

April 5, 2006 02:51


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Maria Altman welcomed back to her family on Tuesday the original portrait of her aunt painted by Gustav Klimt, nearly 70 years after the painting was ripped off Altman's childhood home in Austria during a Nazi campaign to loot wealthy Jewish families. The oil and gold-encrusted portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, along with four other Klimt paintings that include another colorful portrait of Bloch-Bauer and three landscapes were unveiled in a ceremony at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The works will be on display until June 30. Until the portrait's return on Tuesday, Altmann, now 90, had hung a framed poster of her aunt as a substitute for the original painting. Their arrival capped Altmann's seven-year legal battle to recover her family's possession, estimated to be worth $300 million. Altmann was a 21-year-old newlywed when she watched the Nazis seize power in 1938 and then steal valuables from her family, including her wedding gifts and the paintings that belonged to her aunt and uncle.

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