Painting Looted by Nazis Sells for $40.4M

Gustav Klimt landscape goes way above expectations at Sotheby's
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2011 6:50 PM CDT
This undated photo shows the painting "Litzlberg on the Attersee" by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt.   (AP Photo/Museum der Moderne Salzburg)

(Newser) – The high-rent district of the art world might be rebounding if Sotheby's recent auction is an indicator. The big seller was a landscape by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, which went for $40.4 million, way above the $25 million estimate, reports the BBC. The history behind Litzlberg on the Attersee may have helped: The Nazis looted it from its Austrian owner in 1941. It eventually wound up on the walls of an Austrian museum, which returned it in July to the grandson of the owner. (She was never seen again after being deported by the Germans.)

Other big sellers: Picasso's L'Aubade sold for $23 million and Gustave Caillebote's Le pont d'Argenteuil et la Seine fetched $9.26 million. Both were above estimates. In all, Sotheby's sold 57 of 70 lots for a total of $200 million. The market has "really roared back," said a Sotheby's exec.

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