Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Klimt portrait sells for a record $135 million




By Aussiegirl

Hmm. I looked up "gaudy" in my dictionary and found this definition: a tasteless use of overly bright colors or lavish ornamentation. Well, I wasn't going to bid on it anyway, since it wouldn't have harmonized with my color palate.

Klimt portrait sells for a record $135 million - Arts & Leisure - International Herald Tribune

Klimt portrait sells for a record $135 million
By Carol Vogel The New York Times
Published: June 19, 2006

A dazzling gold-flecked 1907 portrait by Gustav Klimt has been purchased for the Neue Galerie in Manhattan by the cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for $135 million, the highest sum ever paid for a painting.

The portrait, of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the wife of a Jewish sugar industrialist and the hostess of a prominent Vienna salon, is considered one of the artist's masterpieces. For years, it was the focus of a restitution battle between the Austrian government and a niece of Mrs. Bloch-Bauer who argued that it was seized along with four other Klimt paintings by the Nazis during World War II. In January all five paintings were awarded to the niece, Maria Altmann, now 90, who lives in Los Angeles, and other family members. [....]

For most of the last 60 years the portrait has hung in the Austrian Gallery in the Belvedere Palace in Vienna near "The Kiss," another gold-flecked Klimt masterpiece of the Art Nouveau era. With its sinuous lines and intricate details, the painting, "Adele Bloch-Bauer I," was commissioned by the subject's husband, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. Mrs. Bloch-Bauer died of meningitis in 1925 at 43. In her will she requested that the painting and four others by Klimt that the couple owned be left to Austria upon her husband's death. But when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, Bloch-Bauer fled, leaving all of his possessions behind. The Nazi government confiscated his property, placed three of the paintings in the Austrian Gallery and sold the rest. [....]

Mrs. Altmann said that when the gold portrait of her aunt finally hangs in the Neue Galerie, she will feel that it is finally where it belongs. The painting, which took Klimt three years to create, shows her aunt regally posed, with a mysterious gaze, sensuous red lips and her hands twisted near her face to conceal a deformed finger. He used gold throughout the richly painted background and in the glistening fabric of Adele's patterned gown. Art historians and chroniclers of Vienna society in the early 20th century have suggested that the artist and Bloch-Bauer were lovers.

"I never saw her smile," Mrs. Altmann recalled in Friday in the interview. "She was always very serious and wore flowing white dresses and carried a gold cigarette holder when it was very unusual for women to smoke. She would have loved to have been a woman of today, to go to university and to get involved in government."

Mrs. Bloch-Bauer was known for giving frequent parties and surrounding herself with many of the great artists, politicians and intellectuals of the day, among them the composer Richard Strauss. "She didn't have teas for ladies like my mother," Altmann said. That wasn't down her alley." [....]

For most of the last 60 years the portrait has hung in the Austrian Gallery in the Belvedere Palace in Vienna near "The Kiss," another gold-flecked Klimt masterpiece of the Art Nouveau era. With its sinuous lines and intricate details, the painting, "Adele Bloch-Bauer I," was commissioned by the subject's husband, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. Mrs. Bloch-Bauer died of meningitis in 1925 at 43. In her will she requested that the painting and four others by Klimt that the couple owned be left to Austria upon her husband's death. But when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, Bloch-Bauer fled, leaving all of his possessions behind. The Nazi government confiscated his property, placed three of the paintings in the Austrian Gallery and sold the rest. [....]

1 Comments:

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous pianogirl said...

"...purchased for the Neue Galerie in Manhattan by the cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for $135 million..."

Proof that some people have more money than taste!

 

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