On March 23, 2022, the Ministry of Culture returned Gustav Klimt’s painting, Roses under treesEleonore (Nora) Stiasny, formerly kept in the Orsay Museum, to the rightful owners of its owner who had been robbed in Vienna in 1938.

This restitution was made pursuant to Article 1er the law of 21 February 2022 on the restitution or return of certain cultural property to the rightful holders of their owners victims of anti-Semitic persecution.

This law allowed the public collections of this work, as well as 14 others, to be taken out for restitution or handed over to their rightful owners.

Entered the national collections in 1980 as part of the prefiguration of the Musée d'Orsay, Roses under trees had been acquired on the art market after extensive research conducted according to the then available knowledge; there was no evidence at the time to presume spoliation. However, after recent research by an independent Austrian researcher, the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna and, in France, the Musée d'Orsay and the Ministry of Culture, it appeared that Roses under trees corresponding to the table entitled Apple tree that belonged to Nora Stiasny.

Niece of the great Austrian Jewish collectors Viktor and Paula Zuckerkandl, Nora Stiasny had, in August 1938, a few months after theAnschluss and the beginning of anti-Semitic persecution, forced to sell his painting of Klimt, Apple tree, for an amount much lower than the market price. Nora Stiasny was then deported and murdered in 1942 with her mother, like her husband and son.

This complex file shows the importance of provenance research in the course of the works between 1933 and 1945, which aims to ensure that the cultural property held in public collections has not been the object of anti-Semitic dispossession during this period. Several national and territorial museums in France have thus initiated research aimed at identifying works of questionable origin, possibly plundered, among those acquired legally since 1933, until today. This research is carried out with the support, where appropriate, of the Ministry of Culture.