- Canvas found in an interspace in Piacenza could be Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of a Lady"
- The case of the Klimt stolen in Piacenza reopened
ShareJanuary 17, 2020 There are no more doubts about the authenticity of Gustav Klimt's 'Portrait of a Lady' found last December by staff who carried out extraordinary maintenance at the Ricci Oddi Gallery in Piacenza on behalf of the Municipality.
The announcement, accompanied by applause in the hall, was given this afternoon in Piacenza during a press conference of the State Police which gave an account of the results of the technical investigations arranged on the 'Portrait of a Lady' attributed to Klimt.
The painting was stolen in 1997 from the Ricci Oddi modern art gallery in Piacenza and was among the most sought after in the world. On December 10 last, during the cleaning of an ivy that covered an external wall of the same gallery, a cavity was discovered closed by a door, inside which there was a sack with the picture inside. The first observations had indicated that it was the stolen work and today the confirmation arrives.
"A news of historical importance for the artistic and cultural community and for the City of Piacenza", comment the mayor Patrizia Barbieri and the Councilor for Culture Jonathan Papamarenghi addressing "a heartfelt thanks to the Prosecutor and the experts, investigators and forces of the order that in these years have never abandoned the investigation ".
Chronicle of a daring find
The theft, or alleged such, of the Portrait of a Lady by Gustav Klimt, was discovered on February 22, 1997. The work disappeared in one of the previous three days. The discovery was late due to a move of this and others to the nearby Piazza Cavalli for an exhibition on Klimt at Palazzo Gotico.
Immediately there were many shaded areas: it was never clear if the masterpiece was brought out of the roof (the frame was found near the skylight) or if the thieves passed through the main entrance. The investigations of the carabinieri of the Piacenza operational department led to an investigation into the custodians of the tunnel, whose position was however soon dismissed by the investigating judge due to lack of evidence.
In 2016 the investigation was reopened after the discovery of traces of the DNA of one of the thieves on the frame. A testimony even spoke of an esoteric track, according to which it would have been used for a satanic rite.
The masterpiece is part of a group of female portraits made by Klimt in the last years of his activity (between 1916 and 1918), some of which remained unfinished. The painting brings with it another story: it was painted over another portrait of a woman with a hat, exhibited in Dresden in 1912, then reported missing. In reality, the Austrian master had retouched it, transforming it into the painting that disappeared in Piacenza in 1997.