Klimt work fetches $40 million at auction

A Gustav Klimt landscape stolen more than 70 years ago by the Nazis and only returned this summer, has been sold for more than $40 million at an auction in New York.

The painting, “Litzlberg am Attersee (Litzlberg on the Attersee),” easily topped its pre-sale high estimate of $25 million at Sotheby’s impressionist and modern sale, selling for $40.4 million.

The work was stolen following the Anschluss, Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938, from its Jewish owner, Amalie Redlich, according to Agence France-Presse.

The painting was returned in July to 83-year-old Georges Jorisch of Montreal, a retired camera-store owner and grandson of Redlich, according to the CBC.

“Litzlberg am Attersee” was painted in Vienna by Klimt in 1915, and depicts a pastoral scene of towering, wooded hills rising from water into a bright sky.

It was originally acquired from Klimt by a couple of Austro-Hungarian collectors who were great art patrons, Viktor Zuckerkandl and his wife Paula. After their deaths in 1927, the landscape passed into the collection of Viktor’s sister, Amalie Redlich, according to the New York Times.

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