So, I’m not completely current with movies these days, but I know that Woman in Gold is in theaters here and in the US (or it was recently). If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I am a pretty big Klimt fan, but I thought I would wait until I got home to see the movie (as movies in the theater here run about 20 CHF).
When I got the book on library e-loan (titled The Lady in Gold), I read it over the course of about four days. While I don’t particularly recommend the book, the content interests me a great deal. The storytelling leaves a great deal to be desired. It tries to be too many different stories all at the same time with so many characters who enter and exit at a whim. The myriad of details do not add to the narrative, and often the thrust of the story is hopelessly buried beneath trivia.
Nonetheless, I learned things about this painting that I saw when it was first moved from Vienna to Los Angeles. You can see as many photos of this painting as you want, but when you see it in person, it is breathtaking. Stunning.
When I saw it at LACMA, I vaguely knew that it had some sort of history as a stolen painting, but I didn’t know anything about Adele Bloch-Bauer, the subject. What I now know is that there is a Zürich connection to Adele. When her husband Ferdinand left Austria after her death and during the war, he moved to the Hotel Bellerive on Lake Zürich.
Oskar Kokoschka (one of the other Viennese Secessionist painters) painted a portrait of Ferdinand in lederhosen with a hunting rifle which Bloch-Bauer chose to donate to the Zürich Kunsthaus. When I read that, I decided that I needed to revisit the art museum for a look-see, especially since I can find no picture of that painting on the internet.
Art museums cannot display their entire collections, and though I found about five Kokoschka works at the museum, I did not see Portrait of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer as a Hunter. I probably should have asked someone about it, but I decided that if was going to be on display, I would have seen it there.