Klimt painting found in Piacenza is authentic

Says mayor. 'Portrait of a Lady' was stolen 22 years ago

17 January, 19:32

    (ANSAmed) - PIACENZA, JANUARY 17 - The "Portrait of a Lady" by Gustav Klimt that was found in Piacenza has been verified as authentic, according to a statement by Piacenza Mayor Patrizia Barbieri and Culture Councillor Jonathan Papamarenghi on Friday.

    The painting was found last December at the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery by personnel carrying out special maintenance work for the city.

    "It's historically important news for the artistic and cultural community and for the city of Piacenza," said Barbieri and Papamarenghi in the statement, thanking the prosecutor's office, experts, investigators, and law enforcement that "never gave up on the investigation".

    The Klimt painting - stolen in 1997 and found by chance on December 10, 2019, at the Ricci Oddi Gallery - was one of the world's most sought-after stolen paintings.

    After "Portrait of a Lady" was stolen during a daring robbery just prior to an exhibition in February 1997, it remained hidden for 22 years and nine months in a hollow space of an exterior wall at the Ricci Oddi Gallery.

    No one realised it was hidden there, and whoever stole the painting never went back to recover it.

    In fact, the painting came close to being thrown in the rubbish bin when one of the cleaning people working on the gallery's exterior found it inside a black bag hidden inside the hollow space, behind a sheet-metal door that had in the meantime become covered by ivy.

    The painting's theft was a film-like event that made headlines around the world.

    Although the theft came to light on February 22, 1997, the robbery likely took place days before in the confusion surrounding the transfer of several paintings for a Klimt exhibition at the Gothic Palace.

    The delay caused serious damage to the investigation.

    It will likely never be known exactly what happened, but after 22 years the painting has been found, and following initial doubts on its authenticity, on Friday came the confirmation that it really is the famous stolen painting.(ANSAmed).

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