Klimt paintings looted by Nazis sent to LA museum

Five Gustav Klimt paintings stolen from a Jewish Austrian family by the Nazis during World War II were en route from Vienna to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wednesday following a seven-year ownership battle by an heir who immigrated to California. 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 Vienna castle had displayed the works until an arbitration court ruled earlier this year that they must be returned to Maria Altmann, 89, of Beverly Hills and other heirs of the Jewish family that owned the paintings before the Nazis took over Austria in 1938. Altmann fought to recover the paintings, but made clear that she preferred the works to remain on display rather than disappear into a private collection. The paintings will go on exhibit April 4 through June 30, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced in a statement that included comment from Altmann. "In gratitude to the city and county of Los Angeles, which provided me a home when I fled the Nazis, and whose courts enabled me to recover my family's paintings at long last, I am very pleased that these wonderful paintings will be seen at LACMA," she said.