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The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

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3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,467 Ratings  ·  552 Reviews
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 $135 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 An ...more
Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Knopf
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Elizabeth Yes, absolutely! the Neue Galerie is currently holding a special exhibition that includes this painting. But, the painting titled The Woman in Gold,…moreYes, absolutely! the Neue Galerie is currently holding a special exhibition that includes this painting. But, the painting titled The Woman in Gold, is part of their permanent collection! Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold

April 2, 2015-September 7, 2015

Note: Although the exhibition "Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold" is only on view through September 7, the painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt is on permanent view at the Neue Galerie.

"Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold" is an intimate exhibition devoted to the close relationship that existed between the artist and one of his key subjects and patrons. Included in the exhibition is a display of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, paintings, related drawings, vintage photographs, decorative arts, and archival material.

Enjoy! (less)
Anne-Marie O'Connor Book Club Questions:
1. Why did Klimt consider the sensual world such an important place to explore in his art?
2. Why did women like Klimt so much in…more
Book Club Questions:
1. Why did Klimt consider the sensual world such an important place to explore in his art?
2. Why did women like Klimt so much in spite of his flaws?
3. How did the expectations for women of times shape the lives of of Adele and her
friends?
4. Why was Therese so determined to raise Luise and Maria as conventional young
women?
3. Why was it so hard for Maria’s family to accept what was happening in Vienna?
4. Why was it so unusual for decent people to behave decently in wartime Vienna?
5. Why were the Viennese so reluctant to tell the true story of Gustav Klimt and his remarkable models after the war?
6. Why was it so difficult for Maria’s family to come to a consensus over the fate of the
paintings?
7. Why was it so hard for contemporary Austria to come to terms with its past, and the
role played by the paintings? Book_Q&A:
The Lady in Gold focuses on Gustav Klimt, and his portrait of his beautiful young Viennese patron, Adele Bloch-Bauer, beginning with the painting’s creation, and ending with its recovery by family members who survived the Holocaust. What drew you to this story?
I stumbled upon the story by accident.
I was reading the Westside Weekly in 2001. There was a Bob Scheer column about a neighborhood woman in her 80s. Maria Altmann. The Nazis had stolen a painting of her aunt. The painting wasn’t locked away somewhere in a mysterious unknown place. It was in the national museum, with other paintings her family owned.
The column had a tiny image of the painting. It was one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. One of Gustav Klimt’s wealthy, decadent, Viennese society women. Or so I had been led to believe in art history class years ago. I thought, ‘that painting? I called 411. An older woman answered, Maria Altmann, and invited me over. She told me a very long story, about her Aunt Adele, a “woman of today living in the world of yesterday.”
According to Maria, the women in the golden painting, and some of the other women painted by Klimt, were not decadent society women. They were visionaries, dreamers, existentialists. Women who supported Freud, modern art, and modernism itself.
Adele was a very opinionated woman. A philanthropist. She smoked, and argued with other intellectuals. Adele may nor may not have had a thing with Klimt.There were other romantic entanglements involving Alma Mahler, Hedy Lamarr--in those days Hedwig Kiesler, a protege of theater impresario Max Reinhardt. The young attorney Los Angeles in the case, Randol Schoenberg, was the grandson of an avant garde Viennese composer, Arnold Schoenberg.
The story was beautiful and complex. It began in a very special time, turn-of-the- century Vienna, when the city was an incubator of new ideas of psychology, medicine, and art. This was the backdrop of Gustav Klimt’s battle for creativity and self- expression, as an artist and an individual. It was an exciting time to be alive. The women Klimt painted into history were striving to be more when their society wanted them to be less. The story was suffused with love; the love of ideas, and passionate romantic love. This world was like a glittering jewel to them.
Its loss haunted them. During World War II, Adele’s nieces fought for their lives, with courage and grit. They suffered the fates that Adele herself would have experienced, had she lived. They were remarkable women who didn’t let even the most difficult obstacles stand in their way. Their struggles taught me important lessons, about perseverance, endurance and dignity.
To tell a story as multi-faceted as this one seemed a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It seemed like a modern fairy tale.
Q. What kind of research did you do?
A. I began with Maria, when I met her as a Los Angeles Times reporter in 2001, sorting through the photos and letters that were stashed in the house, under the sofa, in paper folders in the garage.There was a beautifully bound self-published play, starring all of the members of the Bloch-Bauer family, written by Maria’s sister Luise. The play was very important, because it reinforced Maria’s own characterizations of each member of the family, the kinds of things they said and did, and their roles in the real-life family drama. The family had other treasures: detailed poems written for family weddings, a prayer book that was a gift from the Rothschild family, and agenda where Adele jotted down her friends names, and some of her observances. They had beautiful antique editions of the books their family loved to read. I also ransacked archives in Vienna and Washington. There were a few family letters in the manuscript section of the National Library in Vienna. The Vienna state archive had information on the knighthood and other honors Adele’s father.It was exciting to gather the letters, diaries and memoirs that were pieces of a complex historical puzzle, and get to know the amazing personalities--from Billy Wilder to Bruno Schulz--who played a role in it.
But a lot of the most valuable material--like the intimate memoir of growing up with Klimt, by Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt, or the descriptions of day-to-day life--had to be provided by people. Klimt’s grandson, Gustav Zimmerman, had Klimt’s very personal unpublished letters to Mizzi Zimmerman, the mother of two of his children. The Viennese are very private. One family’s painful wartime memoir was literally locked away in a laundry drawer. I had to explain to these families why I felt it was so important to make these private histories public.
My most urgent task was to interview Maria Altmann and a half-dozen of her childhood contemporaries. Quickly. They were all in their 80s and 90s. Fortunately, they were excellent storytellers, with a wonderful recollections of the conversations, love affairs, and dramas of life in Vienna. Maria’s sister-in-law, Thea, now 94, has a remarkable memory, and she was able to answer the most minute questions about very small details, throughout the process. These wonderful sources helped me for the five years I
worked on the book. One of Maria’s sons shared a folder of yellowing letters that were the exchange between Maria and her husband while he was in Dachau. There was a box lying around with some notes Maria had written to herself while she was under Nazi house arrest. Lovely little jottings about how much she loved her new husband. Though they were both in great danger. There were two memoirs that were more than 200 pages each. All of these sources revealed an amazing amount of detail that allowed me to reconstruct their lives.
Q. You worked as a foreign correspondent, covering Cuba and Haiti; the wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and the Shining Path guerrilla insurgency in Peru. After covering the Arellano-Felix drug cartel in Tijuana for The Los Angeles Times, you moved into writing about American politics, culture, and art, including a 2001 article for The Los Angeles Times Magazine about the attempt to recover the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by her niece, Maria Altmann. What prompted this transition?
A. I actually had written about artists for years, from Chile, Cuba, Haiti, and other places in Latin America. Artists and musicians can be very charismatic figures with tremendous credibility in societies under military government or dictatorship. The story of the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer brought together many of the things I had learned over the years. Lessons about how culture is created and can become a mighty force, a moral force. Lessons about how peaceful societies become destructive. Lessons about history, and its role in memory. In the end, we are all products of our culture, in a broader sense. This story was less a departure from my previous work than a melding of its disparate strands.
Q. Your book covers a lot of ground, with protagonists ranging from Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer and Mark Twain in turn-of-the-century Vienna; to the author of the Final Solution, Reinhard Heydrich, the Polish writer Bruno Schulz, to Kurt Waldheim and Jorg Haider in modern Austria. There are even cameos by Marlene Dietrich, Billy Wilder, and John Malkovich. How did you settle on a theme strong enough to hold the narrative together?
A. The painting held the story together. Paintings are talismanic. Art has captivated humankind since prehistoric cave paintings. This was a very well- known painting, a symbol of Vienna. Once you see this painting, you don’t forget it. But it wasn’t a symbol that was properly understood. It was ubiquitous, but its history was hidden. This book attempts to shed light on the true meaning of a work of art. Paintings are created in a time and place, in a society in which many people play a role. My characters are some of the people, public and private, who were part of the creation of this world. This painting was not just a pretty picture. This painting was about Adele, and her love of art and beauty, and the very romantic way Klimt saw her. But over time it was about a lot more than that.
Q. Some of your characters fought for their lives, or went to concentration camps, and not all of them survived. Why did you feel it was important to detail their fates?
A. This story is about the creation of a culture. But is also about the destruction of culture. It is important to understand what that means. Some of these people were brave beyond belief. It cost them something to survive, but they went to have rich lives, to become distinguished pioneers in their fields. It is important to understand the wonderful resilience of the human spirit.
Q. Little was known about the histories of the Klimt portraits when this case began. How is his legacy viewed in his homeland, and how has that changed?
A. Before this case he was a highly reproduced artist who was considered almost too decorative to be one of the great painters. Now he is known as a complex figure who was a much more interesting player in turn-of-the century Vienna than anyone ever suspected. And his portrait subjects, like Adele, are now known as complex women of their times--not just wealthy society women.
Q. During your travels to Vienna you had the opportunity to get to know many of the players in the legal case, as well as the descendants of protagonists like Klimt. Why did you decide to immerse yourself in modern-day Vienna?
A. I felt that I couldn’t gain an understanding of this story without immersing myself into the world of the characters, understand the role their families played in this history, and how that shaped their own views of the contemporary issues it produced.
Q. What were some of the remarkable experiences you had while reporting this book?
A. It was astonishing to watch this case move from the kitchen of Maria Altmann to the
attention of the entire world. It was a revelation to meet Klimt’s grandson, and hear his grandmother’s stories of life with Klimt. It was fascinating to meet Maria’s old friend in Vienna and hear how he survived the war as a protege of the first Nazi scientist secretly airlifted to the United States after the war. It was bizarre to have a Nazi hunter “discover” a Nazi war criminal living near my Vienna apartment, and see that the former concentration camp guard was listed in the telephone directoryy--and authorities declined to prosecute her, in spite of witnesses who testified to her brutality. She died of old age a few years later. It was fascinating to watch Austria come to terms with its “burden of history,” with each new disputed painting. It was like traveling back in time to stay at the Lake Attersee fantasy castle, the Villa Paulick, that still has the same furnishings it did when Klimt spent summers there with his girlfriend, Emilie Floge. It was a privilege to enter the beautiful private worlds of Vienna, the elegant museum-like homes, with portraits cradled in elaborate gilt frames and antique swords in holders encrusted with jewels. It is a fairy tale city,
justifiably considered one of the most beautiful in the world. This is a city that loves its art.
Q. You weigh the cost of the loss of Klimt’s paintings to Austrian patrimony against the benefits of making Austria aware of its history and atoning for its past. Did you see a beneficial side to these restitutions?
A. It is sad that many of these paintings are no longer on public view. But there was a tremendous moral gain. These stolen paintings were hanging on the walls of major Austrian museums, and people were whispering about them. It was better for the truth to come out. Before restitution these stories were hidden, or mentioned in a few academic books familiar to a handful of people. With restitution, these beautiful, tragic histories are being told. This period of history is better understood. Twenty percent of the art in Europe was stolen by the Nazis, and this was the the tens of thousands of works that have not yet been returned.
The painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer did not belong to Austria. Even the Austrians agree on that. Polls at the time showed that a majority supported the restitution. Austrian museums have returned a dozen Klimt paintings in the past decade. Stolen property on the walls of art museums is not a symbol of patrimony to be proud of. History is also culture property.
This was a painting that was the product of the culture that created the amazing flowering of turn-of-the-century Vienna. That supported Klimt, Mahler, modernism, and advances in medicine and psychoanalysis. The milieu that created it was driven out of Austria. Billy Wilder and other creators fled and enriched American culture. It is still on public view, at the the Neue Galerie in New York, a museum that celebrates this lost world.
Restitution has deepened our understanding of Klimt.
This was a story about people, and the intriguing personalities behind Klimt’s art, many of them his female patrons. It is because of restitution that we know about these women.
I lament that these works are not on public view.
But art is sold every night in New York auction houses, that would also be wonderful to see on public display.
I think the lesson that has been learned is also of incalculable valuable.
Maybe curators can organize a show of the dozen Klimt paintings returned by Austrian museums in the past decade. And tell the stories of the families who collected them--and the women who helped Klimt become the artist he was.
Q. What did you learn from this story?
A. I learned that people who believe in themselves, and believe in each other, can be impossible to defeat. No matter the odds.
(less)
The Rape of Europa by Lynn H. NicholasThe Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie  O'ConnorThe Rescue Artist by Edward DolnickThe Forger's Spell by Edward DolnickMuseum of the Missing by Simon Houpt
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2nd out of 41 books — 49 voters
The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie  O'ConnorGarlic and Sapphires by Ruth ReichlGalileo's Daughter by Dava SobelStrapless by Deborah   DavisPenguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson
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Community Reviews

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Patricia
Apr 13, 2016 Patricia rated it it was amazing
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 ra
...more
Margo Brooks
Jan 23, 2013 Margo Brooks rated it it was ok
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 Austr ...more
Book Concierge
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 p
...more
Suzy
The power of art to tell a story, the power of art to influence and represent a culture, the power of art to create conflict yet also to heal and provide restitution. That is what this book is about to me.

The Lady in Gold is not so much about Klimt and it's not so much about the painting. Yes, it's about Klimt and the painting, but these are mainly jumping off points to tell the story of Vienna and the Jewish aristocracy which was so prominent and influential in Viennese culture at the turn of
...more
Anne Broyles
Mar 18, 2012 Anne Broyles rated it liked it
This is a fascinating book with a cast of thousands that is sometimes hard to keep track of—and I am impressed that the author was able to keep all the complicated details in order. More than just the story of a famous painting, THE LADY IN GOLD covers:
*the art of Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists both before, during and after the Nazi era
*the rich artistic culture in Austria before the war
*how deeply involved many Jewish Austrians were as artists, models and art patrons and collectors
*how
...more
Lisa
Jul 16, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
A great book for lovers of art history and European history. The author takes you first to turn-of-the-century Vienna and introduces you to the painter, Gustav Klimt, and to Adele Bloch-Bauer, the subject, and her friends and family. Then you are taken on a journey with the painting and the family through World War I (and the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and World War II (and the end, or the travails, of many of the Jews of Europe, including members of the Bloch-Bauer family and their fri ...more
Andrea
Oh poo. I was hoping to love this one more than I did. The Lady in Gold, as the subtitle suggests, is the story of the famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt. The portrait itself is magnificent, so I was utterly intrigued. Did the book deliver? Meeeeh. I had several issues here:

1. History is not black and white. O'Connor sort of came across as this crusader on the mission that read "Jews - good, Austria - bad". Undeniably the Nazi party did horrendous things to the European populat
...more
Paul
Nov 14, 2012 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, non-fiction
I had the great luck to see the two Gustav Klimt paintings of Adele Bloch-Bauer at the Oesterreichse Gallerie Belvedere in during my college years and vaguely followed the news about the US court case from the heirs of the original owners, so when I learned of this book, I picked it up immediately.

And the book does deliver on the title--we learn what happened to the portrait pictured on the cover, and the ensuing court case.

However, O'Connor also expanded the book to become a biography of those
...more
Jeanette
Jan 01, 2016 Jeanette rated it really liked it
No review on this one, just a short reaction. This is far more than just the tale of a painting and its artist / subject. It holds a cast of 1000's and highlights the incredible Vienna of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So many factors of advance and philosophy, apart from the politico forming. Art, science, and myriad paths followed by the affluent and in golden age serendipity to meeting towards a pinnacle. It's an extremely difficult read and the dozens of photos and other asides help ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book was one of the selections for my in-person book club. When it was selected I assumed it would be more like Girl With a Pearl Earring or Girl in Hyacinth Blue, novelizations of the story of how a painting was made.

That is not what this book is. It is a non-fiction account of one painting and others, from when Klimt was alive up into the 21st century with the legal battle removing the painting from the Belvedere in Vienna and giving it to descendents of the woman in the painting.

I have
...more
Stephanie
Apr 10, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I suspect that most people are familiar with Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer" the modernist painting of the heavy-lidded dark-haired woman surrounded by a shimmering mosaic of gold. I picked up the book expecting nothing more than a further elaboration on the subject's heirs successful international legal battle to recover the artwork. Yet, the title of the book does not do justice to the scope of O'Connor's exhaustively researched and detailed work.

O'Connor opens the book with al
...more
The Book Jar Blog
Apr 29, 2015 The Book Jar Blog rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Read more of our reviews at: www.thebookjarblog.wordpress.com

The Lady In Gold is the story of Gustav Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a wealthy Jewish-Austrian woman who's family was forced to flee during the Nazi occupation. The Bloch-Bauer family were once prominent, wealthy people in the Austrian society who were patrons of art and theater. Klimt had been commissioned to paint Adele for her husband Ferdinand, and from this commission, the Lady in Gold. However, the painting's history an
...more
Kristie Kercheval
If you enjoy art history or would enjoy WWII European History, you'll enjoy The Lady in Gold. My memory of learning about Gustav Klimt as a freshman in college was that he was a this jerk who lived a dissipated life, dying an early death. His overall contribution to Modern Art was not as significant as other artists at the same time, and we only briefly considered his work.

This book changed my viewpoint on Klimt's work. I thought it was interesting that he got his inspiration for his later pain
...more
Colleen O'Neill Conlan
Apr 01, 2012 Colleen O'Neill Conlan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
An engrossing book, I suppose you could call it a biography of a painting and the world around it. It explores the painting itself, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, and it's creation as a kind of collaboration between the Jewish model and the artist, Gustav Klimt. But it goes much deeper, showing us the Viennese world at the time of its inception: a glowing, golden, culturally rich city where intellectual Jewish society was at the foreground. It traces the rise of Naziism in Austria, how the Jews at the cor ...more
Jonathan Lopez
Feb 09, 2012 Jonathan Lopez rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-history, art
In 1907, when Austrian artist Gustav Klimt painted his famed portrait of the Viennese socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer, he could not have known that the sophisticated world inhabited by the sitter's wealthy Jewish family would be destroyed by the Nazi takeover of the country in 1938. Adele's heirs fled to Switzerland – their business interests in tatters and their art collection, including the portrait, confiscated by Hitler's minions...

The rest of my review is available free online at The Huffington
...more
Erez Davidi
Feb 24, 2016 Erez Davidi rated it it was amazing
"The Lady in Gold" tells the fascinating story of Gustav Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer and all the trouble gone through until it ended up with its rightful owners. In considering the events alone that took place until the painting was retrieved by the heirs of Adele Bloch-Bauer would be enough to produce a gripping story. However, this book is much more. It can be divided into three main parts. The first, takes place in Vienna prior to WW1 and the Anschluss, the reunification between Ger ...more
Nancy
Feb 01, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
Last year I read an historical novel about Klimt. This non-fiction book presented a much more graphic picture of early 20th Century Vienna and its social and cultural milieu.

The author, Anne-Marie O'Conner was introduced to this subject through research for a Sunday magazine feature story for the L.A. Times. She became fascinated with the stories of Adele Bloch-Bauer's niece, and her research led to this very sympathetic presentation of the family
story.

Although this is non-fiction, it is definit
...more
Gordon
Sep 27, 2012 Gordon rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
Not a pretentious book in any way. O'Connor has an accessible style that seems more like a newspaper article (lots of short paragraphs and sentences in this narrative). However, she continually informs us about the world of Vienna from 1890 until the present. In this story of the major actors in the drama of the Klimt painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer, O'Connor reveals the racism so prevalent in Vienna from the beginning to the end. Her stories of modern-day Vienna show that the Austrians still don' ...more
Loraine
Feb 03, 2013 Loraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the very end of the nineteenth century in fin de siecle Vienna and modernist thought is making hash of established ideas about human behavior, art, literature. Gustav Klimt is an established Secessionist artist, recognized and adored by the intelligensia who lived in elegant apartments along the Ringstrasse. They were Jewish and fully integrated into Viennese society as a result of emancipation, often secular, and progressive thinkers. Their salons provided discussion of modernist ideas. Th ...more
Jessica Thomson
I really wanted to like this book more than I did in the end. This is totally the type of art historical book I generally love to read. The subject matter is fascinating. However, I felt that this book was hard to follow at points. The author did not establish the genealogy of the family well enough for my liking and I spent a lot of time trying to remember how a people were related. And as this story involves a large number of family members over time, so I was often confused. A family tree wou ...more
Martha Zavala
Jan 09, 2016 Martha Zavala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cuando vi la película tuve el deseo intenso de leer el libro,al que busque no tuviera la portada de la película sino la obra de Klimt, lo conseguí por fin en la Feria del Libro
La primera parte es un deleite, el ambiente cultural y artístico de Viena, la Viena de Freud y de tantos otros, el ambiente de aperturas y descubrimientos y después viene el terror y la destrucción de la ciudad, las vidas, la cultura y el arte
La última parte del libro es agridulce, eso será lo mejor ? Que hubiera decidido
...more
Ryan
Jul 28, 2013 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really figure out what the story was until the end of the book - there was lots of interesting information about the Adele, Klimt, their families, the changes taking place in turn-of-the-century Vienna, about the rise of Hitler in Austria, the atrocities of the Nazis and the theft of the belongings of those persecuted by the Nazis. Sometimes the information didn't seem related to the painting and that got confusing. Ultimately, the story was the Bloch-Bauer family's efforts to reclaim t ...more
Hank Stuever
Apr 15, 2012 Hank Stuever rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclosure: Anne-Marie O'Connor is a friend of mine, but I have to just add a few words here to say how much I admire the way she's synthesized all this material into a gripping story of people, art, human nature (the worst kind), war, memory, recompense. There is something on every page that surprises -- the sort of facts and tangents that a more narrow account might have edited out, but that beautifully illuminate the larger story to be told here. You can tell this book was carefully written a ...more
Bronwyn
Maybe more like 3.5 stars, but I'm not willing to bump this one up to 4 like I have some others... This was a very interesting book and parts of it were really interesting and enjoyable. I really enjoyed reading about early 20th century Vienna, Adele, and Klimt. The battle for the painting at the end was really interesting too, but I wound up coming out of that hating everyone... Other parts just dragged on and on and was very redundant at times. I couldn't always keep track of who was who becau ...more
Sharyn
Feb 14, 2015 Sharyn rated it really liked it
This book was a little difficult to get into, but I think that is because I do not read much non-fiction. I had read this story a few years back in The New Yorker, and then was lucky enough to see the author and get the book at a literary luncheon. The I was nudged to read it by the fact that a movie, Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren was coming out in April, so had my book club read it. (I need a lot of reasons to read non-fiction!)
The story covers Vienna in the 1900's, then WWI, WWII, and the pr
...more
Mary Miller
Oct 28, 2013 Mary Miller rated it it was amazing
The story of the Block Bauer family is riveting. The web of deceit that is woven from 1938 till the 1990's reveals a key piece of 20th century history. The lives of the 2nd Society, their rise, fall and the subsequent fate of their families are a must read. Most fascinating are the cover ups in the late 20th century, the resistance to admit that the Klimt portraits and landscapes were stolen property seems almost unbelievable. In terms of the writing, the work needs a good editor, it is clouded ...more
Monica Bittencourt
Oct 02, 2015 Monica Bittencourt rated it really liked it
Vi o filme, gostei da estória e, como normalmente os livros são melhores que os filmes, comprei o livro. E, para minha surpresa, o filme não tem nada a ver com o livro. A estória do filme é completamente diferente do livro; diria até que é uma ficção inspirada no livro.
Mas, o livro é sim muito melhor que o filme. A parte da batalha judicial para reaver o quadro só aparece mais para o final. Antes disso, a autora conta toda a história da Viena da época da Adele e do Klimt. Faz uma biografia deles
...more
Amanda
Nov 02, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Just finished this fantastic tale of the family and fights around Gustav Klimt's glorious portrait of noted Viennese Jewish society and cultural philanthropist Adele Block-Bauer, which now hangs in the Neue Gallery in New York City, where I viewed the painting and bought the book.

The story is a potted history of Viennese society, the Austrian experience of WW II and Austrian art of the late 19th and early 20th century. Klimt is hailed as one of Austria's greatest painters, but the they have been
...more
Sara Van Dyck
Nov 20, 2015 Sara Van Dyck rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Much has been written about the Nazi looting of Jewish art. “The Lady in Gold’ stands out because O’Connor has fashioned a three-act drama of the story of this particular painting, taking place across three centuries, and it’s not a comedy. The story begins in Vienna of the late nineteenth century, with its wealth and sophistication, where Klimt was a popular artist. During the twentieth century the Nazi took over, appropriating, hiding, sometimes destroying Klimt’s works. In the third act in th ...more
Barbara Nease
Aug 10, 2015 Barbara Nease rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I'm a huge Gustav Klimt fan and didn't know anything about his life. I had never heard of the book until I saw movie previews last winter. What a fascinating, tragic story! I'm so glad I read it.
The book is more about the model, Adele Bloch-Bauer and her family in Vienna than about Klimt, though his life is covered.
Vienna was one of the most prominent centers of Jewish culture in Europe at the turn of the 19th century up through the Anschluss. The Bloch-Bauer family
...more
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Anne-Marie O'Connor is a veteran foreign correspondent, war reporter and culture writer who has covered everything from post-Soviet Cuba to American artists and intellectuals. O'Connor attended Vassar and the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where she and fellow students co-created an award-winning documentary on the repression of mural artis ...more
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“to every age its art; to art its freedom.” 4 likes
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