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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/14/arts/design/14klim.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Art Review
New Klimt in Town: The Face That Set the Market Buzzing

By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN
Published: July 14, 2006

GUSTAV KLIMTÕS 1907 portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, acquired last month by the billionaire collector Ronald S. Lauder, reportedly for $135 million, is now aptly installed like a trophy head above the mantelpiece in Mr. LauderÕs Neue Galerie for German and Austrian art, on the Upper East Side. Jon Stewart was joking on ŅThe Daily ShowÓ the other night about what that little green patch in the corner of the picture must be worth. You canÕt buy publicity like that.
 
Well, maybe Mr. Lauder could. The portrait cost him the equivalent of the combined gross domestic products of Kiribati and S‹o TomŽ and Principe.

ItÕs a large, hallucinatory square of spectacular gold filigree. Adele looks almost as if she has inserted her head into one of those carnival cutouts, her thin face partly cast in shadow, obscured by the glare. Her lips are parted, eyelids heavy, cheeks pink. The eyes are two big, brown almonds. The overstuffed headrest of her chair makes a halo of beetle-wing delicacy. Monogrammed, her gown undulates with gently raised letters.

And that green patch Mr. Stewart likes so much is a glimpse of emerald floor, thrusting the picture into depth. The coup de gr‰ce is a spider web of hands, a classic Klimt touch of decadence, clasped so that one wrist bends at a rakish right angle.

SheÕs half queen, half Vegas showgirl. The perfect New Yorker.

Welcome to town, Adele.

She temporarily hangs with four other Klimts owned by the Bloch-Bauer heirs, from whom the portrait was bought. TheyÕre bridesmaids in lime-green dresses, supporting players in a passing Klimt show from the familyÕs collection. After they depart on Sept. 18, Adele will stick around, the new marquee attraction for Mr. LauderÕs luxe museum, which now, thanks to her, will surely jump high up on the list of New YorkÕs must-see sites Ń a mixed blessing for those who have known it as a sleeper.

It would be churlish of art lovers in the city not to thank Mr. Lauder for the portrait that for decades was a Viennese civic symbol. Its passage, there to here, is quite a saga. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a wealthy Jewish industrialist, commissioned Klimt to paint his wife, twice. Klimt obliged, so the story goes, by making her his mistress. Public-spirited, she willed her art to Austria. Then she died of meningitis, at 43, in 1925.

Ferdinand had to flee the Nazis 13 years later. They seized the familyÕs paintings; the family castle in Bohemia went to Reinhard Heydrich, the murderer of Wannsee; the family home in Vienna went to the Austrian national railway, which shipped Jews to the camps; and the diamond choker that Adele is wearing in the portrait went to Hermann Goering for his wife. Hitler apparently balked at acquiring the family porcelain. Too expensive, he said.

And then, for more than 60 years, the Austrian government refused to return the paintings to the family, although Ferdinand had redone AdeleÕs will. Led by his niece, Maria Altmann, now 90 and living in Los Angeles, the Bloch-Bauer heirs finally won a court battle in January.

In a nod to the city where she settled (her lawyer, by the way, is the grandson of another exile in Hollywood, Arnold Schoenberg), Mrs. Altmann lent the pictures to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in April. Meanwhile, Mr. Lauder was negotiating the purchase of Adele, and arranging for this show to stop here.

It includes the second Adele, painted in 1912. No longer gold and Byzantine with Egyptian flourishes, instead flowery, sketchier and brightly colored, like a Japanese print, she wears a halo made out of the brim of a huge black hat. Her dress is high-collared, not off the shoulder, her body face-forward and erect, a slender, sinuous Coke bottle shape, more chaste than carnal. This older Adele gazes at some spot just over our heads Ń sheÕs still regal but less Vegas. More Aubrey Beardsley via Edith Wharton.

The other Bloch-Bauer pictures are landscapes; the earliest one, from 1903, of a birch forest, is exquisite: an archetypal Klimt mix of uncanny naturalism and geometric abstraction. Its forest floor makes a mosaic of Pointillist dots, broken up by irregular vertical stripes of perfectly real trees receding into idyllic space. For Klimt, bodies were erotic, nervous subjects, ripe for pornography; landscapes were Edenic.

The Bloch-Bauers also acquired a picture he painted of an apple tree and an unfinished jigsaw-puzzle view of houses on the shore of the Attersee, where he spent summer vacations. Neither is great. But like the two Adele portraits, they raise the question whether, had he not died at 55, in 1918, Klimt would have ended up a pure abstractionist like Mondrian.

The four pictures are on the market, Mrs. Altmann has said. She and her relatives are cashing in, which is their right. They offered the Austrian government a chance to buy the whole collection for about the money that Mr. Lauder reportedly spent on Adele.

The Austrians balked. Too expensive, they said.

When the Metropolitan spent $5.5 million on VelazquezÕs portrait of Juan de Pareja in 1970, it was a scandal; now it seems cheap for one of the great paintings in the country. The sums that places like the Museum of Modern Art squander on mediocre buildings, which become obsolete the moment they open, are scandalous.

The art market operates according to its own logic, which may have nothing to do with the quality of the art. Value is not price Ń whether the issue is a Klimt, or a ballplayer, or a chief executive paid millions of dollars, who runs his company into the ground.

But Oscar Wilde had it right about cynics, price and value. ItÕs only natural to play the skeptic when the art world is a circus of profligacy, drunk with cash, and when dimwitted speculators make headlines, wasting fortunes on bad art. Who knows what the most money paid in private for a painting really is: maybe $135 million. For that amount, assuming it is what Mr. Lauder paid, his portrait of Adele, a hedonistic masterpiece, will be talked about in terms of how many lives might have been saved or how many lifted from poverty for this sum.

ItÕs inevitable. But ludicrous. The Met spent more than $45 million two years ago for a tiny Duccio ŅMadonna and ChildÓ whose modesty seems its most endearing virtue. The tipping point between endearing and hedonistic is evidently somewhere around $100 million.

As for the border separating public interest from private enterprise, it has never been fixed. The Neue Galerie is ChristieÕs annex now, exhibiting paintings for sale ($15 general admission, no children under 12 allowed), whose display is also a public service.

Someday Adele will be seen for just what she is: beautiful, a gift to the city. And $135 million may even come to look like a bargain.
 

Klimt's $135 Mln Bloch-Bauer Portrait Lights Up Neue Galerie

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Lips parted, she turns to face us, clasping her thin hands before her silver and drizzled-gold gown, a placid figure staring out from a sea of gilt. Around her neck is a silver choker, with dark hair and pale shoulders set off by a frenzy of gold, red and silver explosions behind her.

There is a word for ``Adele Bloch-Bauer I,'' the 1907 portrait that Gustav Klimt painted of his favorite patron in fin-de-siecle Vienna.

That word is ``wow.''

I don't say this because the painting, now on view with four other, nonmetallic Klimts at the Neue Galerie in New York, is the goldest of the artist's several gold paintings. Or because of its purchase last month by cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for a sky-high $135 million.

I mean that the canvas is dazzling on its own, a triumph of both modernist portraiture and florid decoration, two seemingly incompatible modes of expression.

If you have seen this painting only in photographs, you have no idea how intricate and ornamented a structure it is. About all I can compare it to is a medieval altarpiece, absent the gods and saints. In fact, the portrait was partly inspired by a visit Klimt made to the Byzantine mosaics at Ravenna. Commissioned by Adele Bloch-Bauer's industrialist husband, Ferdinand, the picture took three years to make -- possibly because Klimt was also working on ``The Kiss,'' his unqualified masterpiece.

Several Worthy Klimts

But ``Adele Bloch-Bauer I'' is not the only reason to recommend ``Gustav Klimt: Five Paintings From the Collection of Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer.'' The show, on view through Sept. 18 at this small museum of German and Austrian art (co-founded by Lauder), has several other fascinations.

They include ``Adele Bloch-Bauer II,'' a second, totally fey portrait from 1912 that is peculiar in less spectacular ways, and three landscapes: of an apple tree, a birch-tree forest, and a lakeside town. Painted in a partly abstract, postimpressionist style reminiscent of Paul Signac and Vincent van Gogh, they are simply too interesting to miss.

``Birch Forest'' (1903) provides a peek-a-boo look into woods that admit no daylight, yet boast a thick carpet of bright, brown leaves. ``Apple Tree I,'' from 1912, is a peacock of a picture that similarly suggests Klimt had a horror of empty space. Here there is none, only an almost pointillist application of thick daubs of yellow, green, red and pink paint that magically coalesce into a robust fruit tree. And ``Houses at Unterach on the Attersee'' (ca. 1916), painted from a distance with the aid of a telescope, is a play of color and scale that is more fun than a picture puzzle.

A Larger Story

In fact, the best reason to see this show is to meet its high-priced portrait in the company of these less-celebrated cousins.

By itself, the portrait is a splendid curiosity; with the others, it becomes part of a larger and more resonant family saga involving Nazi confiscation and later restitution, illustrating the trials, not just the rewards, of dedicated cultural patronage.

Klimt, who died at 44 of pneumonia after a stroke in 1918, was a notorious womanizer who scandalized the Viennese art establishment with explicitly erotic public murals. He then helped to form the Vienna Secession, an artist-run society that widely popularized his sinewy, decorative art nouveau style, created from an amalgam of ancient Egyptian, Japanese and Greek motifs.

Favored Model

Though he specialized in painting the wives and daughters of wealthy men, Bloch-Bauer was the only one he painted twice -- three times if you count ``Judith and Holofernes'' (1901), whose heavily lidded eyes and parted lips strongly suggest Bloch-Bauer as the model.

Before she died in 1925 (of meningitis), she wrote a will requesting that her husband leave their Klimts to the Austrian state museum. Both were prominent Jews, but she had no way of knowing that in 1938 the Nazis would drive up to their house with a truck and cart the paintings off. Her husband had already fled, settling later in Switzerland, where he died in 1945. His own will left the estate to his niece, Maria Altmann, and her two brothers.

In 1998, Altmann, the surviving sibling -- she is now 90 and living in Los Angeles -- renewed her family's long-term efforts to recover their property. The paintings had remained in Austria, in a museum at Vienna's state-owned Belvedere Palace. The Austrians insisted they had only honored Adele Bloch-Bauer's wishes, but last January an arbitrating panel found that her husband was actually the owner and awarded his heirs the five paintings in this show.

Gilded Fascination

It's too bad but the three landscapes probably don't stand a chance with viewers against the shimmering gold portrait. When I saw this exhibition last April, in its first incarnation in a spacious gallery at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I hardly noticed them myself.

In their marbled salon setting at the Neue Galerie, brighter lighting dulls some of the golden portrait's more shimmering effects, but it is now possible to step right up to each work and study it closely -- or as close as its protective glass allows.

All the same, these paintings look best from across the room, and in the context of their history. Stand back, and prepare to be enlightened.

``Gustav Klimt: Five Paintings From the Collection of Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer'' continues through Sept. 18 at Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Ave., at 86th Street. Information: (1)(212) 628-6200; http://www.neuegalerie.org .

(Linda Yablonsky is an art critic for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)
 
 

To contact the writer on this story:

Last Updated: July 13, 2006 16:38 EDT
 

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New York Museum Exhibits World's Most Expensive Painting
By Barbara Schoetzau
New York
12 July 2006
Schoetzau report - Download 390k
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The world's most expensive painting is now on exhibit in New York's Neue Galerie. The head of the small museum purchased the exotic Gustav Klimt painting less than one month ago for what experts say is a record amount of $135 million. The purchase followed a long restitution battle between the Austrian government and the heirs to the original owner, a victim of Nazism.
 

Gustav Klimt's Adele Bloch-Bauer 1 at Neue Galerie - Museum Director Renee Price is on the left
Klimt's gold-flecked portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer is a star in the world of art, appearing on calendars, coffee mugs, and posters. Klimt painted it in 1907 after a visit to Ravenna, Italy, where he was influenced by Byzantine mosaics. When he returned to Vienna he turned out a series of oil paintings in what became known as his Golden Style, using gold leaf and geometric patterns in lustrous backgrounds and bejeweled figures.

Klimt spent three years painting arts patron Adele Bloch Bauer's portrait, one of his best-known works.

Museum director Renee Price says the painting will be the centerpiece of the five-year old museum's collection. The Neue Galerie, which focuses on the art of Austria and Germany from 1890 until 1940, has the largest Klimt collection in the Untied States.

"With the acquisition of Adele Bock Bauer One by Gustav Klimt, the Neue Galerie has added the largest jewel in its crown of its collection," said Renee Price. "This painting is nothing less than a masterpiece, a work that captures the very essence of the era in which it was created."

When Adele Bloch-Bauer died in 1925, she requested that her husband leave the painting and four other Klimt works to Austria upon his death. But Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer fled Austria for Switzerland in 1938, and the Nazi government confiscated his property.

The painting hung in Vienna's Belvedere Gallery for 60 years, where Klimt's works are major tourist attractions.

Bauer-Bloch's last surviving heir, 90-year-old Maria Altmann of Los Angeles, California, and other family members fought a restitution battle with the government of Austria for years. In January, an Austrian arbitration court decided in favor of the family, awarding Altmann five paintings, including Adele Bloch-Bauer 1, another portrait of the socialite and three landscapes.

Former US ambassador to Austria Ronald Lauder, co-founder of the Neue Galerie, supported the family in its quest for restitution. He says the restitution decision has long-term significance.

"I think it is a very important moment because these paintings and paintings throughout museums and private collections that were looted from Jewish homes are perhaps the last prisoners of World War II," said Ronald Lauder. "It is my belief that during the coming years many more pictures like this will be restituted to their owners."

Experts estimate that the other four paintings awarded to the heirs are worth $100 milllion. All five paintings are currently on exhibit at the museum, but the heirs have yet to decide on the fate of the other four.

Lauder cannot say how much he and a group of investors paid for the painting because of a legal agreement, but he has not denied reports by experts that it cost $135 million. In 2004, a Picasso sold at auction for $104 million, the highest price ever previously paid for a painting.

The Star Ledger

Portrait of a lady
At $135 million, the world's most expensive painting heads home to New York
Thursday, July 13, 2006
BY DAN BISCHOFF
Star-Ledger Staff
Gustav Klimt: Adele Bloch-Bauer I

Where: The Neue Galerie, 1048 5th Ave. at 86th Street, New York

When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and Mondays; 1-6 p.m. Sundays

How much: $10; $7 students and seniors. Call (212) 628-6200 or visit www.neuegalerie.org

NEW YORK -- The most expensive painting in the world goes on display today in its new home, cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder's Neue Galerie in Manhattan, and art fans can't wait.

Gustav Klimt's portrait of the wife of an Austrian sugar magnate, "Adele Bloch-Bauer I," was bought by Lauder for a reported $135 million from family descendants who had just received the painting and four other Klimts from Austrian museums in January after a long and difficult legal case.

The price tag has generated more than the usual interest. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which opened a special show of the five Klimt canvases in April, had lines going out the museum door and around the block.

The nearest local comparison to this opening would probably be back in 1971 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art bought Diego Velasquez's portrait of his assistant, Juan de Pareja, for $5.1 million, making it briefly the most expensive picture in the world. There were lines out the door of the Met then, too.

The five Klimt paintings now at the Neue were seized by the Nazis in 1938 from the extensive art collection of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, Austria's leading sugar manufacturer. When he left Austria for Switzerland just ahead of the German troops, Bloch-Bauer owned seven Klimts, and much else besides. Only these five famous works were returned to his niece, Maria Altmann; the other two paintings are lost.

Lauder, who is a major philanthropist for Jewish causes, had supported the Altmann suit against the Austrian government since its inception. The Los Angeles museum had been offering a similar sum to what Lauder paid for the one work for all five paintings, offering to keep them together as a set. Presumably the remaining four will soon be sold and split up.

"Adele Bloch-Bauer I" -- Klimt painted her twice, the only model for whom he is known to have done two formal portraits -- is one of the artist's most famous images. The wife of one of Austria's wealthiest Jews, Adele Bloch-Bauer maintained one of the most exclusive intellectual salons in the Vienna of her day. Klimt painted her face and hands hemmed in by gold and silver leaf after turning her dress into a fandango of abstract symbols, many of them sexual in nature, lifted from ancient Greek art. The precious materials contrast with the sitter's pinkish flesh in a way that suggests a voluptuous luxury, not unlike the glittering Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Italy, which Klimt had only recently returned from visiting in 1907 when "Adele I" was finished.

Also on display at the Neue through Sept. 18 will be the other four Klimts returned to Altmann. (Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer died penniless in Switzerland in 1945; Altmann and her husband escaped from a concentration camp and made their way to Los Angeles after the war.) Although Altmann's claim to the paintings was indisputable, Austria fought relinquishing them out of a desire to keep the country's "cultural patrimony" intact.

Three of the pictures are landscapes, rare in Klimt's work and among his most valued genres today. The other is the second portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. This may be one of the last times all five canvases will be in the same room for some time.

The return of the paintings was a great victory for Altmann, 88, who has said she remembers her imposing aunt as someone who "never smiled." Adele Bloch-Bauer died in 1925 of meningitis, asking her husband to leave the paintings to a new museum of Austrian culture.
 
 

July 13, 2006 Edition > Section:  Arts and Letters
 
 Have your say in the NY Sun's interactive Arts Forum.
Falling for Fool's Gold

By LANCE ESPLUND
July 13, 2006

Much fanfare surrounds last month's record-setting purchase of Gustav Klimt's portrait "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" (1907), one of the most famous (and, lately, infamous) paintings of the 20th century. Hailed as the Austrian "Mona Lisa," the resplendent, gold-covered canvas is going on permanent display today at the Neue Galerie. Its arrival in New York will no doubt inspire pilgrimages to the corner of 86th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Acquired by the Neue Galerie for $135 million Ń the highest price ever paid for a work of art Ń "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" is one of two Klimt portraits the Austrian sugar magnate Ferdinand Bloch commissioned of his wife. In 1938, the Nazis seized the painting, along with four other Klimts and the family's palatial Viennese home. Until last March, when the five works were restituted to Bloch-Bauer heiress Maria Altmann, they were on display at the Austrian National Gallery. Now the five Klimt paintings from the original Bloch-Bauer estate, along with six drawings for the portraits, make up a small show at the Neue.

The acquisition of "Adele Bloch-Bauer I," which is just less than 5 feet square, is certainly a crowning achievement for the Neue Galerie, whose mission it is "to exhibit, acquire, and make available for study Austrian and German art created between 1890 and 1940." Ronald Lauder, the museum's president and cofounder, has called the purchase "a once-in-alifetime acquisition, and a defining moment for the Neue Galerie." The portrait's purchase is also a crowning achievement for the heirs to the Bloch-Bauer estate and for Mr. Lauder in the realm of combating anti-Semitism and restituting artworks stolen by the Nazis. The question remains, however: Is "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" a crowning achievement for art?

Klimt (1862Š1918) was revered in his day for his society portraits, and he remains one of our most beloved Modernist artists, along with Munch, van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Klimt's friend Egon Schiele. If van Gogh, Munch, and Schiele represent art with feeling, Matisse art of beauty, and Picasso art of heroic proportions, then Klimt is understood to be a combination of all of the above. Lauded for being a bridge between the old world and the modern world, his work combines all the overstuffed, decorative splendor of the Victorian age, the bejeweled otherworldliness of the Byzantine era, the paint-handling of Impressionism, and the flatness and bright color of Modernism. It is not difficult to see why Klimt's work still attracts Ń not only for its flickering golden shimmer but also for its link, seemingly, to a bygone age.

The Neue's press release hails "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" as one of Klimt's "greatest achievements" from his "Golden Style." It is certainly one of the most outlandish and over-the-top paintings from the period of Art Nouveau. Inspired by the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna Ń especially the figure of the Empress Theodora in S.Vitale Ń "Adele Bloch-Bauer I"I s less a portrait than a fairy tale.

"Adele Bloch-Bauer I" is all glow, glitz, and glitter.  The painting consists primarily of a decorative field made of gold, interrupted here and there by silver and pieces of color, as well as by eyes that peer out at the viewer and by the repeated initials "A" and "B." Swirls, checkerboards, lines, diamonds, and rectangles activate the field; out of the center flows the golden angel, Adele. She spreads from out of the gold, burnished here and applied thickly there, like a butterfly from out of heaven's cocoon. Yet an angst-ridden roughness permeates her pale, dry skin, as if not all is right with the world.

The painting may have the power to draw and to awe Ń but what 5-foot-square patch of gold would not? "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" has none of the power of the great Byzantine Madonnas it mimics, in which the Madonna's full, volumetric head is held stringently within a golden plane that represents the pliable yet impenetrable light of God. Klimt's ostentatious portrait exists only on its decorative surface.Volume is absent and the gold dissolves into dazzling wallpaper.

The Byzantine Madonnas' golden splendor and metaphoric richness (a richness fully explored, for instance, in portraits by van Gogh) have been made counterfeit in Klimt's hands. "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" is not a celebration of the wealth of spirit (or of painting). It is a celebration of the wealth of bourgeoisie Ń a kind of Hail Mary pass from the modern world to the old.

All razzle-dazzle, Klimt can certainly embellish a canvas, but he cannot draw and he remains a second-rate painter. The drawings on view are little better than student works. His landscapes' color is dry and leaden; his trees, which are not anchored to the earth, do not rotate into volume; his spaces do not open into the distance. His Impressionist handling (compare it to Monet's) is without light. Klimt's canvases, though infinitely touched, remain shallow and ornamental. His work is closer to that of Chuck Close than to the earth-shaking mosaics in Ravenna.

The washy rectangles of rose madder, cobaltviolet, blue-violet, and teal green in the portrait "Adele Bloch-Bauer II" (1912) may remind viewers of Matisse's buoyant color planes from his Nice-period paintings. But Matisse's miraculous color is simultaneously airy, watery, pure light, and solid. In Klimt, the colors, thickened with white, are impenetrable and slow to a deadened stop. Despite all the minutiae around Adele, who is a swirling mass of pattern, she never materializes but merely floats like a pre-Raphaelite Ophelia on the painting's daubed surface.

I applaud Mr. Lauder's efforts, both politically and professionally, regarding the purchase of "Adele Bloch-Bauer I," and I am pleased that the painting was returned to its rightful owners. But this acquisition has more importance politically than it does artistically.

There is something disconcerting about our continued amazement with glitz and glamour and surface. Might Mr. Lauder not have put this staggering sum of money to better use elsewhere? Not all that glitters is gold.

Until September 18 (1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street, 212-628-6200).

http://oe1.orf.at/inforadio/66070.html?filter=5

"Goldene Adele" in New York

LŠnge: 2:22 min
…1 Morgenjournal - Raimund Lšw
Die Neue Galerie in New York hat bekanntlich die "Goldene Adele" von Gustav
Klimt erworben. Ab heute ist sie zusammen mit den anderen vier Klimtbildern
in diesem auf die Wiener Moderne spezialisierten Museum zu sehen.

Dank Klimts Meisterwerk hofft die Neue Galerie zu einer der ersten Adressen
fŸr Museumsbesucher in New York zu werden. Die bescheidene Infrastruktur
wird allerdings, durch den erwarteten Massenandrang, gefordert werden, denn
die Galerie bietet nur 330 Menschen Platz. Die Besucher werden sich also
geduldig anstellen mŸssen und warten.

Eines scheint auf jeden Fall sicher: In New York wird dieses SchlŸsselwerk
des Wiener Jugendstils ein grš§eres internationales Publikum anziehen als
irgendwo sonst auf der Welt.

Mehr zum Verkauf der "Goldenen Adele" in …1 Inforadio
 

Klimt-Ausstellung in New York zeigt "Adele"

Im Museum "Neue Galerie" fŸr deutsche und šsterreichische Kunst in New York
sind ab heute fŸnf Bilder des šsterreichischen Malers Gustav Klimt
(1862-1913) zu sehen, darunter das PortrŠt "Adele Bloch-Bauer 1", das
Museumsbesitzer Ronald Lauder im Juni zum Rekordpreis von 135 Millionen
Dollar erstand.

"Ich bin sehr glŸcklich, dass das Bild in diesem Museum hŠngt, wo es
Menschen aus der ganzen Welt bewundern kšnnen", sagte Maria Altmann, vor dem
PortrŠt sitzend. Sie hat dieser Tage ihren 90. Geburtstag gefeiert.

Langer Streit
Das goldglŠnzende GemŠlde und die vier anderen Klimt-Bilder gehšrten der von
den Nazis enteigneten Familie Bloch-Bauer. Die von Altmann reprŠsentierten
Erben hatten sich jahrelang mit der šsterreichischen Regierung um den Besitz
der Kunstwerke gestritten. Anfang des Jahres war es Altmann gelungen, ihre
AnsprŸche vor einem šsterreichischen Schiedsgericht durchzusetzen.

Was passiert mit den weiteren Bildern?
Altmann kam zur PressevorfŸhrung aus Los Angeles angereist. Was nun mit den
vier anderen Klimt-Bildern passiere, die zusammen rund 100 Millionen Dollar
wert sein sollen, wisse sie nicht.

"Vielleicht kommen sie in die Auktion. Ich hoffe sehr, dass sie in einem
Museum landen werden. Jetzt freue ich mich erst einmal, dass sie hier ein
vorŸbergehendes Zuhause gefunden haben." Altmann ist die letzte lebende
Nichte von Adele, der in dem Bild portrŠtierten Frau des šsterreichischen
Zuckerindustriellen.

Ausstellung bis Mitte September
Adele starb 1925 im Alter von 43 Jahren an GehirnhautentzŸndung. "Ich war
neun, als Adele starb. Ich kann mich noch sehr gut an sie erinnern, doch
Einzelheiten habe ich vergessen", so Altmann. Das Wienerische klingt immer
noch durch, wenn sie Englisch spricht. Ressentiments spŸre sie Ÿberhaupt
nicht, sagte sie Journalisten. Die Ausstellung an der East 86th Street, Ecke
Fifth Avenue lŠuft bis zum 18. September.