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The lady in gold : the extraordinary tale of Gustav Klimt's masterpiece, portrai
Anne-Marie O'Connor
Adult Nonfiction ND511.5.K55 A618 2012

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From Publishers' Weekly:

One of Gustav Klimt's most celebrated paintings (sold to Ronald Lauder for a record $135 million in 2006 and now in the Neue Galerie in New York City, encapsulates a fascinating, complicated cultural history of fin-de-siecle Vienna, its Jewish intelligentsia, and their near complete destruction by the Nazis. Washington Post journalist O'Connor traces the multifaceted history of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) in this intriguing, energetically composed, but overly episodic study of Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, and her niece, Maria Bloch-Bauer who reclaimed five Klimt paintings stolen by the Nazis and was extensively interviewed by O'Connor. According to Maria, Adele was "a modern woman, living in the world of yesterday." The book's first and strongest section vividly evokes the intellectually precocious and ambitious Adele's rich cultural and social milieu in Vienna, and how she became entwined with the charismatic, sexually charged, and irreverent Klimt, who may have been Adele's lover before and also during her marriage. During WWII, Adele's portrait was renamed by the Nazis as the Dame in Gold to erase her Jewish identity. O'Connor's final arguments about the tragic yet redemptive symbolism of Adele's portrait are poignant and convincing: while it represents the failure of the dream of Jews like Adele to assimilate, through the painting she achieves "her dream of immortality." 54 photos. Agent: Steve Wasserman, Kneerim and Williams. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This is an extraordinary biography, not merely of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the subject of one of Gustav Klimt's most famous paintings, but also of the work itself and the world of early 20th-century Vienna. The painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) was famous before its record--breaking purchase in 2006 at $135 million by Ronald S. Lauder for his New York-based Neue Galerie. Through her painstaking research, O'Connor (Washington Post) manages to capture the cultural, historical, and political climate that gave birth to this painting. She describes the anti-Semitism that permeated early 20th--century Vienna and the role that Jews played (often as outsiders) in that society. Stolen by the Nazis during World War II and renamed The Lady in Gold (to avoid any hint that its subject was Jewish), the painting was at the center of an eight-year battle by Bloch-Bauer's niece Maria Altmann to regain her family's legacy. -VERDICT Although the narrative is somewhat episodic, the history is fascinating. This is an essential title for readers interested in art history, European history, and Judaic studies. Highly recommended.-Herbert E. Shapiro, Lifelong Learning Soc., Florida Atlantic Univ., Boca Raton (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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