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Recovered Klimt Painting to Go On View in Italy 20 Years After Storied Heist

Recovered Klimt Painting to Go On View in Italy 20 Years After Storied Heist

After being uncovered last December by a gardener at the in Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery in Piacenza, Italy, a painting by Gustav Klimt that was stolen 23 years ago will go back on view at the institution. According to a report by the Art Newspaper, the work, titled Portrait of a Lady (1916–17), is set to be exhibited starting November 28 in a protective case.

The painting was found inside an exterior wall at the institution, where it had been obscured in a trash bag and situated behind a metal plate. In January, two men confessed to having carried out the heist in 1997. Before the work was stolen, research and X-ray analysis revealed that it contained two portraits, one of which Klimt had painted over.

The perpetrators of the theft made their confession in a letter to local reporter Ermanno Mariani. In the missive, they described their return of the painting as “a gift to the city,” writing that they put the work in the gallery’s wall four years after they took it. It was reported earlier this year that the timing of this confession was likely tied to an expired statute of limitations for the crime. Rossella Tiadina, the widow of former Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery director Stefano Fugazza, had been under investigation by Piacenza police in connection with the crime following the confession from the two men.

The Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery plans to livestream the historic return of the painting on its YouTube channel. Over the course of the next two years, Portrait of a Lady, which depicts woman wearing semi-abstract, voluminous garment against a green background, will figure in four exhibitions at the institution.

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