The Nazi Theft of Art
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Our conference opens with a focus on this dramatic case with Tacoma connections. Maria Altmann was the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, who was famously painted by Gustav Klimt in 1907. Five Klimt paintings owned by the Altmann family were stolen by the Nazis. Maria Altmann went all the way to the Supreme Court in the United States, and then to courts in Austria. She finally secured the return of these five Klimt paintings. The “Portrait of Adele” was then purchased for $135 million by Ronald Lauder, and it now is a centerpiece in his Manhattan museum, the Neue Gallerie. Maria Altmann’s son, Peter, a longtime resident of Tacoma, helped us discover this story. Professor Heather Mathews, who teaches art history at PLU, will show some documentary film footage on this case and lead our discussion.