portrait of adele bloch bauer i

The History Behind ‘The Woman in Gold’

Easily one of my favourite paintings, by one of my most favourite artists, Klimt’s painting ‘Adele Bloch-Bauer’s Portrait’ is well-known for many reasons. Clearly seen it was created in Klimt’s “golden phase,” this painting is so striking not just for it’s beauty, but also its long and tragic history.

Adele Bloch-Bauer and her husband, Ferdinand Bloch, were close friends with the artist, Gustav Klimt. She modeled for Klimt on numerous occasions, and Ferdinand commissioned two portraits of his wife. The married couple were well-known lovers of art. Adele would entertain many artists at their home - from musicians to painters. The Bloch-Bauer’s were a prominent Jewish family in Viennese society. This is precisely why they were targeted by Nazis in the 1940’s. The Bloch-Bauer’s home was emptied of its beautiful and loved possessions - including Adele Bloch-Bauer’s portrait. Of course, no Nazi could have the portrait of a Jewish woman hanging in their home, so her name was erased from the painting’s history and instead given the title “Woman in Gold.”

Eventually the painting was collected by the Austrian state gallery, and became one of Austria’s artistic ‘Golden Age’ symbols. Her story does not end here, because years later, in 2000, Adele’s niece - Maria Viktoria Bloch-Bauer (Maria Altman) - sued Austria for the ownership of the painting. Maria remembered visiting her aunt’s and uncle’s home throughout her childhood. After Adele died, their visits included a viewing of the gorgeous golden portrait. While Maria later fled Austria and settled in America with her husband, she eventually returned decades later after being told that the painting was rightfully hers. In Adele’s will she had asked that her husband donate her paintings to the gallery, yet in her husband’s will he had left them to his family. After years and years of court hearings and trials, Maria finally won back the painting.

Adele Bloch-Bauer’s portrait now sits in a Manhattan gallery, after being purchased for $135 million (US). This portrait was just one of many that was looted during World War II. Thankfully, the history of the painting, the subject, and her family have the recognition they deserve. It’s tragic that so many pieces of art and family heirlooms are still lost because of the prejudices and crimes of those that abused their power. Those organizations not only wiped out families, but also sought to destroy any memory of them.

Movies and interviews have been made to show people the history of this famous painting, such as ‘Stealing Klimt’ (2007), and the film ‘Woman in Gold’ (2015) which I both highly recommend.

Above: Adele Bloch-Bauer’s Portrait (Woman in Gold, Adele Bloch-Bauer I.), 1907, by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907, oil, silver and gold on canvas, 138 x 138 cm, Neue Galerie, New York. Source

Klimt’s famous first portrait of the Viennese socialite and art patron Adele Bloch-Bauer has been part of the Neue Galerie’s collection since 2006. It was the subject of a huge ownership dispute between the Austrian government and Adele’s niece Maria Altmann, who had been left the painting, amongst other Klimts, by her Uncle Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer upon his death in 1945. Maria’s story has been portrayed a number of times, including in last year’s film Woman in Gold, which starred Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Brühl.

anonymous asked:

Ok but imagine one year Grantaire gives each ami for their birthday a recreated famous art piece but with them in it. Jehan love themself as Ophelia, Ferre gets a statue of himself as the thinker etc

I love this SO MUCH because it shows both how much Grantaire loves his friends, to put so much thought and work into the gifts, but also how damn talented he is because he can literally do any style and it looks absolutely amazing.

So Combeferre as Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ and Jehan as Millais’ Ophelia (which is so perfectly Jehan oh my god, that’s amazing).

And I’m thinking about Bahorel in bright, vibrant colours a la Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe (in a huge format that he wants to put up in the bedroom, Feuilly refuses. It’s in the bathroom instead and it kind of weirds people out. Bahorel is delighted.) Grantaire paints Feuilly himself in warm tone in the style of Van Gogh’s ‘Self Portrait with Straw Hat’.

Courfeyrac in all the gold and brightness of Klimt‘s Adele Bloch Bauer.

For Marius it’s unquestionably Caspar David Friedrich’s romantic, yearning ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ and Cosette gets Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earing’ and it’s simple and intense and yet incredibly beautiful. Éponine as Millais’ Jean D’Arc (and when Grantaire wordlessly gives it to she’s not crying okay but  but when she hugs him he’s pretty sure he cracked a rip.)

I feel like Bossuet would totally dig something like Magritte’s ‘Man in a Bowler Hat’ complete with hat and eagle of course while Joly is done in playful art noveau style a la Mucha and Musichetta with the elegance and power of John Singer Sargent’s ‘Madame X’ because she’s perfect. Period.

There a a lot of possibilities for Enjolras, like Grantaire would do an entire Apollo Belvedere or something like Jaque-Louis David’s Napoleon to piss him off but in the end it’s a gift and he wants Enjolras to actually like it so he does a modernized version of Delacroix’s ‘Liberty leading the People‘ (And Enjolras is pretty much speechless. Which. Is not a thing that really happens)

And Idk, Montparnasse gets Pepe the Frog with a top hat or something because let’s be real that boy’s ego is big enough as it is.

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer I. 1907, oil and gold leaf on canvas. Neue Art Gallery, New York, New York, United States.

Great painting with a great story:

This painting, which took three years to complete, was commissioned by the wealthy industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, who made his money in the sugar industry. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer favored the arts, especially Klimt, and commissioned him to complete another portrait of his wife Adele in 1912. Adele Bloch-Bauer was the only person to be painted twice by Klimt. This painting is perhaps most famous not for its artistic quality, but because of its scandalous history since inception. Upon her death, Adele Bloch-Bauer wished the painting to be given to the Austrian State Gallery, but it was seized by advancing German forces in World War II. In 1945, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer designated the paintings to be the property of his nephew and nieces, including Maria Altmann. Nonetheless, the Austrian government retained ownership of the painting, and was not returned to the Altmann family until 2006 after a long court battle. The painting was then sold at auction for $135 million dollars, which at that time was the highest price paid at auction for a painting. It is now displayed the Neue Art Gallery in New York.

The Haunting Story Behind One Of Gustav Klimt’s Most Famous Paintings

Maria Altmann was in her ‘80s when she entered into a legal battle with the Austrian government in order to reclaim Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” and other Nazi-plundered Klimt paintings.

The artwork had been stolen from her family’s home after she escaped from Austria as a Jewish refugee of the Holocaust during World War II. Never certain she would even live to see a verdict, Altmann’s fight wasn’t about money or revenge. According to her, she simply wanted to preserve the truth of what had happened to her family.

So the history goes, the paintings in question were originally confiscated by Nazi authorities from Altmann’s uncle, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, and acquired by the state of Austria following German occupation. When Altmann began her fight, in the late 1990s, the portrait of Bloch-Bauer’s wife Adele had already made its way to the Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, where it was known by a colloquial moniker, “Women in Gold,” to obscure the subject’s Jewish heritage.

Shrouded in mystery until Altmann spoke out, the painting had come to be known as Austria’s “Mona Lisa.” Read on here.