Portrait of Adele Bloch‑Bauer I

Klimt completes his masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, more commonly known as “Woman In Gold.” Mrs. Adele Bloch-Bauer was a refined art-loving Viennese salon lady, a patron and close friend of Gustav Klimt. “Woman In Gold” is the first of two portraits Klimt painted of Bloch-Bauer and is often considered the most fully representative work of his “golden phase.” Bloch-Bauer was the only model painted twice by Klimt.

Klimt completes his masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, more commonly known as “Woman In Gold”

Klimt completes his masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, more commonly known as “Woman In Gold”

The Nazi plunder of European art

The Nazi plunder of European art. Historians estimate over 20% of art in Europe was stolen by Nazis. The Nazi Party stole art and other items, including gold, silver and currency and cultural items of great significance during this time as a result of the organized looting of European countries.

The Nazi plunder: historians estimate over 20% of art in Europe was stolen by Nazis between 1933–1945.

The Nazi plunder: historians estimate over 20% of art in Europe was stolen by Nazis between 1933–1945.

Germany annexes Austria in March 1938

Germany annexes Austria in March 1938; Mr. Bloch-Bauer flees to Switzerland, leaving all of his possessions, including four Klimt paintings. His home is ransacked by the Nazis, who turn it into a railway headquarters. Nazis place “Woman in Gold” in the National Gallery, now known as Belvedere Gallery, and sell off the other Klimts.

Germany annexes Austria in March 1938; Mr. Bloch-Bauer flees to Switzerland, leaving all of his possessions, including four Klimt paintings. Nazis place “Woman in Gold” in the Belvedere Gallery.

Germany annexes Austria in March 1938; Mr. Bloch-Bauer flees to Switzerland, leaving all of his possessions, including four Klimt paintings. Nazis place “Woman in Gold” in the Belvedere Gallery.

The End of World War II

WWII Ends - Allied forces retrieve and start returning looted art to its original owners. Some estimates place the number of looted pieces at over 700,000 artifacts.

WWII Ends - Allied forces retrieve and start returning looted art to its original owners.

WWII Ends - Allied forces retrieve and start returning looted art to its original owners.

Foreign Sovereign Act of 1976 (FSIA)

The United States passes the Foreign Sovereign Act of 1976 (FSIA), establishing the limitations as to whether a foreign sovereign nation (or its political subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities) may be sued in U.S. courts—federal or state. This law paves the way for Maria Altmann’s court case, 28 years later.

The United States passes the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA). This law what paves the way for Maria Altmann’s court case, 28 years later.

The United States passes the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA). This law what paves the way for Maria Altmann’s court case, 28 years later.

Republic of Austria v. Altmann

Citing FSIA, the Supreme Court rules that Altmann is authorized to proceed with a civil action against the Republic of Austria, in U.S. federal court, for the recovery of the five paintings stolen from her relatives by Nazis, currently housed in Austria’s National Gallery. Altmann hires E. Randol Schoenberg as her lawyer and files Republic of Austria v. Altmann.

Citing FSIA, the Supreme Court rules that Altmann is authorized to proceed with a civil action against the Republic of Austria. Altmann hires E. Randol Schoenberg as her lawyer and files <em>Republic of Austria v. Altmann</em>.

Citing FSIA, the Supreme Court rules that Altmann is authorized to proceed with a civil action against the Republic of Austria. Altmann hires E. Randol Schoenberg as her lawyer and files Republic of Austria v. Altmann.

The Final Ruling

On January 16, 2006, Maria Altmann is awarded ownership of all five Klimt paintings that were plundered from her family by the Nazis during WWII including, “Woman In Gold.” The ruling in favor of Altmann stuns the Austrian public and government.

On January 16, 2006, Maria Altmann is awarded ownership of all five Klimt paintings. The ruling in favor of Altmann stuns the Austrian public and government.

On January 16, 2006, Maria Altmann is awarded ownership of all five Klimt paintings. The ruling in favor of Altmann stuns the Austrian public and government.

Lauder Purchases “Woman In Gold”

In June 2006, entrepreneur, philanthropist and art collector Ronald S. Lauder purchases “Woman In Gold” on behalf of the Neue Galerie (New York). Citing a confidentiality agreement, Lauder will only confirm that its purchase price is more than $104.2 million (the last record price set by a Picasso painting). The press reports a price tag of $135 million.

In June 2006, entrepreneur, philanthropist and art collector Ronald S. Lauder purchases “Woman In Gold” on behalf of the Neue Galerie (New York) for a reported $135 million. The painting remains there to this day.

In June 2006, entrepreneur, philanthropist and art collector Ronald S. Lauder purchases “Woman In Gold” on behalf of the Neue Galerie (New York) for a reported $135 million. The painting remains there to this day.