January 31, 2006
Negotiations are currently underway in Austria for the re-purchase of two portraits by Klimt. The story has a long & complex history, but what is of more interest is the price that is likely to be paid for the paintings. The Austrian government is willing to pay a huge amount for these paintings, because they see them as a part of their national identity. This case of national identity being tied to cultural property is one of the key reasons why the Greeks have argued for so long that the Elgin Marbles should be returned & reunited in Athens.
Klimt Ruling Raises Issues of Art Ownership, National Identity
(The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Bloomberg.)
By Martin Gayford
Jan. 30 (Bloomberg)
Austria may pay more than $100 million for two portraits by Gustav Klimt. Even in today’s market, that isn’t cheap and raises questions about the value of art and its relationship to national identity.
These aren’t just any pictures. One of them, in particular, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (1907) has been described as the Austrian Mona Lisa and has, over the years, been reproduced on countless postcards and mousemats.
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