The Lady In Gold, Considered An Unforgettable Masterpiece, One Of The Twentieth Century S Most Recognizable Paintings, Made Headlines All Over The World When Ronald Lauder Bought It For Million A Century After Klimt, The Most Famous Austrian Painter Of His Time, Completed The Society Portrait Anne Marie O Connor, Writer For The Washington Post, Formerly Of The Los Angeles Times, Tells The Galvanizing Story Of The Lady In Gold, Adele Bloch Bauer, A Dazzling Viennese Jewish Society Figure Daughter Of The Head Of One Of The Largest Banks In The Hapsburg Empire, Head Of The Oriental Railway, Whose Orient Express Went From Berlin To Constantinople Wife Of Ferdinand Bauer, Sugar Beet Baron The Bloch Bauers Were Art Patrons, And Adele Herself Was Considered A Rebel Of Fin De Si Cle Vienna She Wanted To Be Educated, A Notion Considered Degenerate In A Society That Believed Women Being Out In The World Went Against Their Feminine Nature The Author Describes How Adele Inspired The Portrait And How Klimt Made Than A Hundred Sketches Of Her Simple Pencil Drawings On Thin Manila Paper And O Connor Writes Of Klimt Himself, Son Of A Failed Gold Engraver, Shunned By Arts Bureaucrats, Called An Artistic Heretic In His Time, A Genius In Ours She Writes Of The Nazis Confiscating The Portrait Of Adele From The Bloch Bauers Grand Palais Of The Austrian Government Putting The Painting On Display, Stripping Adele S Jewish Surname From It So That No Clues To Her Identity Nor Any Hint Of Her Jewish Origins Would Be Revealed Nazi Officials Called The Painting, The Lady In Gold And Proudly Exhibited It In Vienna S Baroque Belvedere Palace, Consecrated In The S As A Nazi Institution The Author Writes Of The Painting, Inspired By The Byzantine Mosaics Klimt Had Studied In Italy, With Their Exotic Symbols And Swirls, The Subject An Idol In A Golden Shrine We See How, Sixty Years After It Was Stolen By The Nazis, The Portrait Of Adele Bloch Bauer Became The Subject Of A Decade Long Litigation Between The Austrian Government And The Bloch Bauer Heirs, How And Why The US Supreme Court Became Involved In The Case, And How The Court S Decision Had Profound Ramifications In The Art World In This Book Listeners Will Find Riveting Social History An Illuminating And Haunting Look At Turn Of The Century Vienna A Brilliant Portrait Of The Evolution Of A Painter A Masterfully Told Tale Of Suspense And At The Heart Of It, The Lady In Gold The Shimmering Painting, And Its Equally Irresistible Subject, The Fate Of Each Forever Intertwined The Lady in Gold is a brilliant testament to why I have chosen to read non fiction Anne Marie O Connor transported me to the glittering world of the Viennese Belle poque, the beautiful era which began in the 1870 s and ended at the beginning of WWI There I met Gustav Klimt and other brilliant artists, musicians and writers who embodied the Secession motto Der Zeit ihre Kunst Der Kunst ihre Freiheit To every age its art To every art its freedom This was the world of Adele Bloch Bauer, The Lady in Gold.Anne Marie O Connor is a masterful storyteller She weaves personal narratives against the backdrop of a fragile world of unimaginable wealth, political upheaval and a monarchy in transition The greatest story centers on the 1907 painting by Gustav Klimt Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer It was a three year labor of love, commissioned by Adele s husband, Ferdinand Block Bauer What was meant to adorn the wall of an elegant family home, was coveted by others who recognized the genius behind The Lady in Gold The Lady in Gold holds the memorable stories of many who desired its beauty It is a reminder of the vulnerability of life, the unforeseen circumstances that intrude into our seemingly impenetrable, carefully constructed worlds The enigmatic Klimt and the beautiful Adele may have passed into history, but their lives are enshrined in a painting that endures.https ontheroadbookclub.com 2016 11 I wanted to like this book, but it was a struggle to get through for three reasons First, I blame the publisher for the title which I found misleading Yes, the author s inspiration was the law suit to repatriate Klimt s portrait of Adel Bloch Bouer However, the majority of the book has nothing to do with the painting, the lawsuit or the story behind either It does provide a fascinating picture of Vienna s art world between the wars and a horrifying description of the Nazi occupation of Austria I wish the title had emphasized the story of the social milieu in which the painting was created and traveled rather than calling the story of the portrait itself fascinating.Second, I did not like the writing The author uses fictionalization scenes and peculiarly phrased sentences to paint little vignettes of people and places I found vignette after vignette to be tiresome and I often didn t know why they were being presented in this context Why, for example, do we care that Freud skipped a medical lecture to see Mark Twain talk in Vienna It had nothing to do with Klimt, the painting, Adele or the law suit It might have been ok as a way to show the overall social scene in Vienna at the time that Klimt lived, but every small 3 4 page chapter was like that.Third, there was no narrative The little vignettes followed roughly in chronological order, but I certainly didn t comprehend the whole story I want details, but not the type of detail that the author gave I would rather have details of the story itself and a concrete thesis to follow.In conclusion, I think that the author got confused about why she was writing this book and didn t present her information in the best possible light That said, I found some of the book interesting, it just wasn t what I had hoped to be reading about. There are so many reasons to read this book The Lady in Gold is a must read for anyone who loves Klimt or Belle epoque Vienna It should be required reading for any art student or art lover It carries the flame of remembrance of the Holocaust in a profoundly moving way It captures the interplay between those who have felt the weight of the collective guilt of the German people and those who would deny it or trivialize it It reminds me of the New German Film of the 1970s It also raises the spectre of Austrian and Croatian complicity in important ways The role the US Supreme Court plays in the story of Adele I restitution is a moment of pride for American idealism Anyone interested in International law will also find this intriguing, in a light way O Connor also captures the insanity of the art auction world, and the impact on family of money, war and remembrance I caution you, this is not an easy book to read it is painful at times, and the story is convoluted, with as many players as a Tolstoi novel The style is subtle straightforward and understated Yet, it is the sort of book that impacts the soul and lingers. Subtitled The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer This is a story of a portrait of a beautiful Viennese Jewish salon hostess, the now vanished turn of the century Vienna cultural scene of which it became an emblem, the atrocities of the Nazi regime, and the efforts of Adele s heirs to recover this and other paintings from an Austrian government that wished to hide the realities of war time complicity My husband and I have reproductions of two Klimt paintings in our home The Kiss perhaps his most famous work and Water Serpents I, so I was immediately interested in the book I really appreciated that O Connor took the reader back to the late 19th century and early 20th century to paint the landscape of the era the parties, the intrigue, the art scene, the romantic scandals, the loving families and not so loving marriages I was completely drawn into this era and felt the loss of it when the narrative moved on to the war years and how the family members endured and or escaped I thought it lost a little momentum when the time frame advanced to modern day and the early efforts of Maria Altmann Adele s niece to recover the paintings which had been stolen from her family For some of the chapters in the last section of the book O Connor switched to a first person narrative, told from Maria s point of view, and that seemed to interrupt the flow Still, I was captivated from beginning to end.
- Kindle Edition
- 370 pages
- The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
- Anne-Marie O'Connor
- 08 March 2017 Anne-Marie O'Connor