When in high school, I remember reading up on one of my now favourite artists, Gustav Klimt. A desired painting of the time for me was the startling “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1” otherwise known as “The Woman In Gold”. I used to gaze deeply into the most magnificent details of Klimt’s grand piece for hours at times, imagining the circumstances around which the painting was created in 1907.
Adele Bloch-Bauer was a key figure in Viennese society before her death, aged 44, in 1925. During the lead up to the Second World War, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur 1” was seized by the nazis in what is believed to be a coup where more than one million pieces of art were stolen from their rightful owners.
In the year 2000, Maria Altman, the neice of Bloch-Bauer sued the Austrian government, later winning her case in June 2006, to reclaim a series of Klimt paintings. The “Portait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1” now hangs in the Neue Gallerie in New York after being acquired for $135 million.
Antje Traue portrayed Adele in the 2015 film, The Woman In Gold, striking an uncanny resemblance to the original subject as you can see below.
The portrait is one of the most emotionally uplifting works known to humankind and I have often shed tears in the past when admiring its beauty and the story of its life.
I have never seen the “Portait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1” in person and I suspect, if ever there was a time to visit New York, that time is now. Or soon to say the least…..