Maria Altmann was bornon 18 February 1916 in Vienna, Austria, Austrian, American, is Art Collector. Maria Altmann was an Austrian-American Jewish refugee who escaped Nazi occupied Austria and took refuge in America where she later became a naturalized citizen. Her inspirational life story unfolds her successful quest in reclaiming five of her family-owned paintings from government of Austria that were seized by the Nazis during Second World War. The paintings, an artwork of Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, were commissioned by Altmann’s uncle Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer which included two portraits of his wife. Altmann approached Austrian government but her initial attempts fell into deaf ears. This forced her to sue the Austrian government in an Austrian court, but she later dropped the case due to huge fee. She later filed a case under FSIA in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, which was ruled in her favour. Following this, an arbitration panel led by three Austrian judges also ruled the case in her favour resulting in return of the paintings to Altmann by the Austrian government.
A biographical film ‘Woman in Gold’ (2015) was made on her where Tatiana Maslany and Helen Mirren portrayed her younger and older versions respectively
Maria Altmann lost her husband in 1994 and on February 7, 2011 she died at her Cheviot Hills home
Her journey in re-claiming her family belongings found place in three documentaries namely,’ The Rape of Europa’ (2006), ‘Stealing Klimt’ (2007) and ‘Adele's Wish’ (2008); and in Anne-Marie O'Connor’s book ‘The Lady in Gold, the Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer’
Altmann tied knot with opera singer Fredrick "Fritz" Altmann in 1937 and soon after on March 12, 1938, Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany which would be described as ‘Anschluss’
In 1917, the family changed their name to Bloch-Bauer
Maria Altmann was born Maria Victoria Bloch on February 18, 1916 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary in the wealthy Jewish family of Gustav Bloch and Marie Therese
Her uncle, Czech sugar magnate, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, and his wife, Adele, were closely associated with the circle of artists of Vienna Succession movement that Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt aided in establishing in 1897