Published On: Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014

Upcoming Film ‘Woman in Gold’ Shines Spotlight on Art Seized by Nazis

Woman in Gold

The Hollywood Reporter on December 19 released the poster for the upcoming movie “Woman in Gold, ” describing the film as the fascinating true story of a woman’s journey to retrieve a Gustav Klimt painting that belonged to her family before it was seized by the Nazis during World War II.

The film, which stars Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, will be released by The Weinstein Co. in 2015, the report said.

Directed by Simon Curtis, the drama stars Mirren as the woman who teams up with a young lawyer (Reynolds) to battle for her family’s possessions, which include the famous Klimt painting,  The Lady in Gold, the report said. The film also stars Daniel Bruhl and Katie Holmes.

The poster, the first official image from the film, features the line “the fight for justice never ends, ” and their shadows stretch into a swastika, the Hollywood Reporter said. A trailer will debut on Monday, Dec. 22.

The painting originally named “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, ” commissioned by Bloch-Bauer’s husband, was part of an art collection on display in the couple’s palatial home during the era of the glittering and artistic society of Vienna in the early 1900’s, San Diego Jewish World said.

Stolen by the Nazis, the name of the portrait was changed to “Lady in Gold” to hide the Jewish identity of the woman Klimt had portrayed.  After the Second World War, it ended up in Vienna’s Belvedere Museum. There was no attempt or intent to return it to the heirs of its rightful owners, many of whom were now living in California and Canada.  Austria considered the painting a part of its national heritage – its own “Mona Lisa, ” the report said.

Not until 1998 did Austria very reluctantly begin considering legislation that would attempt to make restitution to the rightful owners of some of the stolen art in its museums.  However, the legislation required the claimant to bring suit through the Austrian legal system and appear before what was often a biased Austrian court, according to the report.

It was a tide turning event when the Belvedere Museum was forced to return the painting to the heirs of the Bloch-Bauer family and opened the way for others to begin legal procedures to reclaim their property, the report said.

A book about the story of the painting, Lady in Gold – The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, was published in 2012.

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