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Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I
"Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I", 1907.
Oil, silver and gold leaf on canvas, 138 x 138 cm.
Neue Galerie New York,...
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Woman in Gold
The new film
"Woman in Gold"
by Simon Curtis tells the amazing story of one famous painting: the 1907 portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt. The portrait was commissioned by Adele's husband Ferdinand Bloch and was one of five paintings by Klimt that the couple, who were one of Klimt's most important supporters,had in their art collection.
Adele Bloch-Bauer was a leading member of Viennese society and her salons were popular with the artists, writers and musicians of the day. As she died of meningitis in 1925, she asked that the paintings be given to the future Belvedere Gallery in Austria after her husband's death. History, however, was to intervene. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, Ferdinand Bloch fled first to Prague and later to Switzerland where he died in poverty in November 1945. His estate, including many of the paintings, had already been confiscated. In his own will Bloch gave the paintings to his brother Gustav's family, feeling no obligation to the Austrian state. His niece, Maria Altmann, was the only family member still alive and she began a ten-year lawsuit against the Austrian state which ended successfully in 2006. Some of the paintings were returned to her, including the famous portrait of her aunt.
Today the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer hangs in the Neue Galerie in New York.