September 15, 2009
Nazi-looted art and property law
Randol Schoenberg was a bit surprised when I told him Saturday what they were now teaching in first-year property courses at UCLA School of Law. Among a handful of cases looking at Nazi-looted properties is one that took Schoenberg from Austria to the U.S. Supreme Court and back—and after seven years returning to his client five famous Gustav Klimt paintings that were valued at about $300 million.
My class discussed this case Monday, and in light of that I thought it was worth excerpting a portion of the Daily News article I wrote when Schoenberg got an Austrian arbitration panel to unanimously rule in 2006 that the Austrian government must return the Klimt paintings stolen from Maria Altmann’s family.
The image displayed was the most famous of the paintings, named after the subject, who happened to be Altmann’s aunt, “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” It sold for $135 million shortly after being returned to Altmann, who lives in Los Angeles.
Here’s a snippet from my story:
The original is no longer online at dailynews.com, but you’re interested, you can read the entire story at my online portfolio.