Nora Stiasny, an Austrian Jew, inherited Gustav Klimt's Rosiers sous les Arbres from her uncle, but was forced by the Nazis to sell it in 1938 for vastly less than what it was worth. She was ultimately deported to a concentration camp in Poland, where she died in 1942. But now, the Austrian artist's painting (Rosebushes under the Trees) will be returned to her family, the BBC reports. France bought the artwork in 1980 for the Musée d'Orsay without knowing its history, but has since learned it was looted. French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot says the only choice was to return it to its rightful owners.
"The decision we've taken is of course a difficult one. It results in taking a masterpiece out of the national collections which is the only painting by Gustav Klimt which France owned," she says. "But this decision is necessary, essential. Eighty-three years after the forced sale of this painting by Nora Stiasny, this is the accomplishment of an act of justice." France24 reports the interim owner of the painting was a Nazi sympathizer and art dealer who died in the 1960s; the Canadian says artist Philipp Häusler, a member of the Nazi party, purchased the painting from Stiasny. (The Nazis looted this Klimt painting, it was also returned, and later sold for $40.4 million.)