One of art world’s biggest mysteries solved

epa08062495 A framegrab taken from a handout video made available by the Italian police shows the painting seized in Piacenza, Italy, 11 December 2019. Police said Gustav Klimt's 'Portrait of a Lady', stolen from Piacenza's Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery in 1997, may have been recovered. During work to clean up ivy covering the gallery's exterior wall, they said, an interspace closed by a door was discovered, behind which there was a bag containing the picture. An expert's first inspection indicated the painting was the stolen Klimt, one of the most sought-after stolen works in the world. Further analysis is underway to certify the authenticity of the work. EPA-EFE/ITALIAN POLICE / HANDOUT BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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A stolen painting has been discovered hidden inside the walls of an Italian art gallery 23 years after it disappeared, it was confirmed on Friday.

Art experts confirmed the painting — Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of a Lady — as authentic, Italian prosecutors said.

The Klimt has an estimated value of at least €60m ($66m; £51m).

A gardener found it in December while clearing ivy from the walls of Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery in Piacenza, northern Italy.

The artwork was inside a bag, hidden in a hole in the wall.

Portrait of a Lady went missing from the gallery during renovation work in February 1997.

“It’s with no small emotion that I can tell you the work is authentic,” the Piacenza prosecutor Ornella Chicca told reporters at a news conference.

Portrait of a Lady is a later work by art nouveau master Klimt, who painted it between 1916 and 1917. Its disappearance had been one of the art world’s biggest mysteries.

It was bought by Giuseppe Ricci Oddi in 1925 and kept in the gallery until it was stolen on 22 February 1997 amid preparations for a special exhibition.

 

Read more via ANSA/BBC

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