I recently went to Galerie Neue in New York to see original Gustav Klimt paintings. I have been meaning to visit this place since I was in college but I just hadn’t. For those who may not know, Klimt is the artist who painted The Kiss,one of his most well-known paintings. I did not see The Kiss as it is in Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, a museum in Austria where he is from.
I loved seeing his work in my art history classes and always wanted to see it in person. I finally have and I’m glad I did. Anyway the work was as beautiful as I had hoped with a lot of texture. Photos were not allowed in the galleries but they were allowed in the gift shop and they had a reproduction of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I in the basement which is what I’m showing below.
This painting is not just beautiful it is also historically significant as it was one of the thousands of artworks stolen by the Nazis during World War II. After the war it displayed Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, Austria even though it belonged to the Bloch-Bauer family, a Jewish-Viennese family. Decades later the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Maria Altmann, who was living in the United States at the time, eventually reclaimed the painting through hard-fought legal battles with the Austrian government. Now the painting is housed at Galerie Neue in New York. There is also a movie about this story called, The Woman in Gold (2015) - I saw it and I highly recommend it.
As mentioned before, this painting was one of thousands of artworks that were stolen by Nazis during World War II. Many were found in mines and Neuschwanstein Castle by the Monuments Men and many have still not been recovered. There is a book and movie about this too called, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter and Monuments Men (2014), respectively. Anyway, the painting is very beautiful and I’m glad I’ve seen it in person and to have learned about the history behind this work.