Viennese Leopold Museum to return Nazi-looted paintings to Jewish owner

A photographic portrait of Austrian painter Egon Schiele. Credit: Josef Anton Trčka via Wikimedia Commons.

( Vienna's Leopold Museum settled a feud over Nazi-stolen art on Thursday by returning several paintings to the descendant of their rightful Jewish owner.

Many works of art owned by Jews were plundered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The Vienna museum returned two of five drawings by Austrian painter Egon Schiele to 95-year-old Eva Zirkl, the New York-based heiress of Viennese art collector Karl Maylaender, who had been deported from Austria in 1941. Zirkl reached an agreement with the museum in which she would get back two paintings, while three other paintings will remain in the museum, reported The Local.

Austria has been involved in several other high-profile Nazi-looted art restitution cases, most notably the case of Maria Altmann, who won a lengthy court battle to get back five paintings by Gustav Klimt in 2006—including the "Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I,” which had sold for $135 million. Altmann’s case was the basis for the film “Woman in Gold,” starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.

Germany is also dealing with a major art restitution problem after discovering more than 1,200 artworks in the Munich home of Cornelius Gurlitt, who was the son of a Nazi-era art dealer.

Posted on April 7, 2016 .