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Name Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I
Artist Gustav Klimt
Created 1907
Media Oil, silver, and gold on canvas
Dimensions 138 × 138 cm
Location Neue Galerie, New York
  

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

   Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (also called The Lady in Gold or The Woman in Gold) is a 1907 painting by Gustav Klimt. The first of two portraits Klimt painted of Bloch-Bauer, it has been referred to as the final and most fully representative work of his golden phase.It is on display at the Neue Galerie in New York City as part of the largest Klimt collection in the U.S.

Adele Bloch-Bauer (1881–1925) was a wealthy member of Viennese society and a patron and close friend of Gustav Klimt. Klimt originally titled the painting as Adele Bloch-Bauer, but Nazi soldiers seized the painting from the Bloch-Bauer home and displayed it in the early 1940s, removing the name and instead calling it The Woman in Gold so that it could be displayed without referencing a prominent Jewish family.

Klimt took three years to complete the painting; preliminary drawings for it date from 1903/4.It measures 54" x 54" [138 x 138 cm] and is made of oil and gold on canvas, showing elaborate and complex ornamentation as seen in the Jugendstil style. Klimt was a member of the Vienna Secession, a group of artists that broke away from the traditional way of painting. The picture was painted in Vienna and commissioned by Adele's husband Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer.As a wealthy industrialist who had made his fortune in the sugar industry, he sponsored the arts and favored and supported Gustav Klimt. Adele Bloch-Bauer[7] became the only model who was painted twice by Klimt when he completed a second picture of her, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, in 1912.

In her will, it is claimed that Adele Bloch-Bauer asked her husband to consider donating his Klimt paintings to the Austrian State Gallery upon his death.She died in 1925 from meningitis. When Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938 in the action known as the Anschluss, her widower fled to Prague and subsequently to Zürich. Most of his properties in Austria, including his Klimt paintings, were looted, and attorney Friedrich Führer was designated to administer their sale or disposal on behalf of the German state. In 1941, it was acquired by the Austrian state gallery, housed in the Belvedere Palace in Vienna

Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer died in November 1945 in Zürich. In his 1945 testament, he designated his nephew and nieces, including Maria Altmann, as the heirs of his estate, which included his Klimt paintings.

In 2000, following administrative impedance by the Austrian authorities to her claims for restitution of the seized works,Maria Altmann sued Austria in US Court for ownership of Adele Bloch-Bauer I and other paintings from her uncle's collection. As Bloch-Bauer's pictures had remained in Austria, the Austrian government took the position that the request in the will of Adele Bloch-Bauer regarding her husband's property, contrary to his own will, determined that these pictures were to stay there. After a court battle, binding arbitration by a panel of Austrian judges established in 2006 that Maria Altmann was the rightful owner of this and four other paintings by Klimt.

In June 2006 the work was sold for US$135 million to Ronald Lauder for the Neue Galerie in New York City, at the time a record price for a painting.[13] It has been on display at the Neue Galerie since July 2006.

Maria Altmann's story is dramatized in the 2015 film Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren as Maria and Ryan Reynolds as her lawyer E. Randol Schoenberg.

Her recovery of the paintings has been recounted in three documentary films and one drama film. Stealing Klimt, released in 2007,features interviews with Altmann, Schoenberg, and others who were closely involved with the story.

Adele's Wish by filmmaker Terrence Turner (husband of Altmann's great-niece) was released in 2008 and features interviews with Altmann, Schoenberg, and leading experts from around the world. Adele's Wish was featured in the 2006 documentary The Rape of Europa, which dealt with the massive theft of art in Europe by the Nazi government during World War II.

This piece is featured in the memoir of Gregor Collins, The Accidental Caregiver, about his relationship with Maria Altmann, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer. It was published on August 15, 2012, and was turned into a stage play in New York in January 2015.

The tale of the painting and those involved with it is covered in detail in the book by Anne-Marie O'Connor, The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, published on February 7, 2012.[20]

The story of this work, as well as other stories of the clashes between the heirs determined to retrieve their inheritance and the current owners, is told by Melissa Müller and Monika Tatzkow in Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft, and the Quest for Justice, published by The Vendome Press on September 1, 2010

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