Portrait of Adele Bloch‑Bauer I
Klimt completes his masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, more commonly known as “Woman In Gold”
1933 – 1945
The Nazi plunder of European art
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. 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.
Foreign Sovereign Act of 1976 (FSIA)
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. 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. 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) for a reported $135 million. The painting remains there to this day.