The stolen Klimt from the Ricci Oddi Gallery in Piacenza has returned home.

As of this morning, Klimt's Portrait of a Lady is back on display at the Ricci Oddi Gallery in Piacenza. It had been stolen in 1997.

After almost twenty-four years, since 1997, the stolen Klimt from the Ricci Oddi Gallery in Piacenza has returned home: as of this morning, in fact, the Portrait of a Lady has been on display at the Piacenza museum venue protected by a special case set up in the Hall of Honor.

Due to restrictions caused by the health emergency, the famous painting could not be truly welcomed by the public, but the return was nonetheless featured in a streaming event, visible on the Gallery’s Youtube channel . In addition to institutional representatives, Klimt Project curators Elena Pontiggia and Gabriella Belli and Gallery President Massimo Ferrari were present.

The latter said, "Almost a year after its discovery, Portrait of a Lady finally returns to the Gallery. Following the experts’ evaluation that confirmed its correspondence with the painting stolen in 1997, the Board of Directors has worked with determination to welcome the work back to the Gallery on the earliest possible date after all the necessary steps to ensure the safety and future visitation of those who would like to see it. Its return is first and foremost a gift for the city of Piacenza so tried by the pandemic that is affecting our country and the entire world, but it also allows us to embark on this path - Project Klimt - that we have conceived to revitalize and enhance the entire Gallery thanks to a two-year scientific program that will involve local and national institutions, together with authoritative scholars of international caliber."

“I am honored to be coordinating the project,” commented Elena Pontiggia, "an ambitious and prestigious program that will allow us to give proper attention to Portrait of a Lady, the Gallery and the relationship between Klimt and our country. I have been in charge of the critical apparatuses that will accompany the return of the painting to the Gallery and I will also follow the subsequent phases of the program, which is still in the works because from the beginning with President Ferrari it was imagined as a gradual and collective project, allowing it to be enriched over time with different collaborations from the territory from Italy and the world. The Klimt Project should be considered a team effort, in which the Gallery and the city of Piacenza, with its museum, its works, and its fans, are not just guests, but protagonists."

MiBACT Minister Dario Franceschini also spoke: “This work is finally returned to its community and to the whole of Italy after twenty-three years. This happens unfortunately at a time when the measures taken to contain the pandemic do not allow the opening of cultural places, but this is all the more symbolic because the painting, long removed from the public gaze, finds its context again in a museum that thus proves to be more alive than ever, despite its closure. Throughout Italy, there are many activities in museums, which are affected by renovations, restorations, enrichment of collections and rethinking of displays in preparation for the upcoming reopening. When the citizens of Piacenza can return to visit the Gallery, they will find it enriched by the reappearance of an extraordinary work: the sign of a rebirth that will have here, as in many other museums, also a physical and concrete aspect, the full reappropriation of a masterpiece.”

The work has been reacquainted with a display created in collaboration with the Milan Polytechnic, and the protective case was made possible thanks to the contribution of the Banca di Piacenza and the Fondazione di Piacenza e Vigevano.

Pictured: Gustav Klimt, Portrait of a Lady (1916-1918; oil on canvas, 68 x 55 cm; Piacenza, Ricci Oddi Gallery)

The stolen Klimt from the Ricci Oddi Gallery in Piacenza has returned home.
The stolen Klimt from the Ricci Oddi Gallery in Piacenza has returned home.