After a tremendous journey over the past few decades, Gustav Klimt's landscape, "Litzlberg on the Attersee," has found itself on the auction block and is expected to sell for $25 million, according to Sotheby's,. The rare landscape is set to be the main attraction at the November 2nd Impressionist and Modern Art sale in New York City.
The painting appeared in headlines earlier this year when it was repatriated to its rightful heir, George Jorisch, after having been stolen by the Nazis during the second World War. Previously, the work had been in the collection of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in Austria, but was willingly returned after an agreement was made between Jewish organizations and the Salzburg city government to return assets confiscated by the Nazis.
The painting originally belonged to Viktor Zuckerkandl, an Austrian iron magnate who died in 1927 and left the painting to Amalie Redlich, his sister and Jorisch's grandmother. In 1941, Redlich was sent to the Lodz ghetto in Poland where she was never heard from again. The Nazis seized her art collection and it ended up in the Austrian museum.
"People love a picture with a story behind it," Simon Shaw, the head of Sotheby's New York's Impressionist and Modern Art division, said in an interview with Reuters. "It always adds desirability when there is a story behind a painting."
Klimt's landscape work is among the most rare from the Art Nouveau painter because, as Shaw states, "He left Vienna and his patrons and would paint these for himself. They were very daring because he explored different techniques that were very radical."
Though the price for the painting has not been officially announced, upon its return, experts predicted that it could fetch anywhere from $20-$30 million, according to AMA. Recently, Klimt's "Church in Cassone -- Landscape with Cypresses" sold for $43 million in London, the highest ever for a Klimt Landscape. Shaw explains the popularity of Klimt's landscapes, "They are one of the most recognizable images and their appeal is truly a global one."