MANHATTAN (CN) – Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estee Lauder Cos., has a Gustav Klimt painting, “Blooming Meadow,” that was looted from George Jorisch‘s grandmother by the Nazis, and Jorisch wants it back, he says in Federal Court. Jorisch says the Nazis stole the painting from Amalie Redlich in Vienna in October 1941 and deported her to the Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland, then to perish in the Holocaust.
He claims Lauder bought the painting in 1983 and has kept it in his New York home since then. He claims he and Lauder both conducted research to determine the provenance of the painting, and that Dr. Alfred Weidinger, deputy director and chief curator of the Austrian Gallery in Vienna, and a Klimt expert, determined the painting is a Klimt an was owned by Redlich. Jorisch says he learned Lauder had it after the cosmetics magnate loaned it to the Canadian National Gallery in 2001. Jorisch lives in Quebec. He says Lauder has blown off his requests for alternative dispute resolution. He wants the painting, and $10 million to $20 million in damages. He is represented by Daniel Edelman.