On Wednesday, August 23, the Farnsworth Art Museum, in partnership with the Strand Theatre and the Adas Yoshuron Synagogue will co-present a lecture by Donald S. Burris, Esq. followed by a screening of Stealing Klimt: The Documentary. The program will take place at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, Maine from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Beginning with the initial Blitzkrieg and continuing throughout the duration of World War II, the Nazi authorities implemented a pervasive program for stealing valuable artworks as they overran and ravaged most of Western Europe. The artwork was appropriated from mostly Jewish families in the occupied countries and the amount of art plundered, as you will learn in the course of the lecture, was astronomical.
Such was the fate of Gustav Klimt’s famous painting of The Woman in Gold, officially titled “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” and commissioned by Adele’s husband Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a wealthy industrialist and supporter of the arts, who shared with his wife a special fondness for Klimt’s work. The Belvedere Palace in Vienna acquired this painting and others from their Nazi holders in 1941 and it remained in the Palace until its status was changed by the American courts in lengthy litigation begun in 1999 that our guest speaker will describe in detail, culminating with the 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling entitled Altmann v. Republic of Austria.
The speaker, Donald S. Burris—an international lawyer and a senior partner at Burris, Schoenberg & Walden—was not only the “other lawyer” working side-by-side with Randy Schoenberg to have Maria Altmann’s historic rights recognized in the Altmann case, but has been the senior partner in the firm working with other “looted art” cases. He will speak about the case and his other fascinating experiences in connection with his ongoing efforts to repatriate artworks, businesses and real estate stolen by the Nazis.
This brief lecture will be followed by a screening of Stealing Klimt, a documentary film about the true story of the Woman in Gold, running time 86 minutes. Burris will take questions following the film. The fee for this program is $20 and $15 for Farnsworth members, Adas Yoshuron Synagogue members, and Strand members. For more information visit www.farnsworthmuseum.org