"Golden Adele"—the story of one of the most expensive paintings in the world
Forty million three hundred sixty one thousand five hundred thirty six
This is a story in which there is love and hate, betrayal and revenge, pursuit and sacrifice. Morality in this story is — what might be the moral of the story, involving a genius Gustav Klimt, femme fatale Adele Bloch-Bauer, the painting worth $ 135 million, Adolf Hitler, George Bush, the US Government and the people of Austria?
You've probably already guessed that we are talking about the painting of Gustav Klimt "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer" or "Golden Adele."
It all started like this:
1904. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer walked along the paved sidewalk, whistling a happy tune, swinging his cane, sometimes stopping and bowing politely counter masters.
He has already decided everything for myself. First, of course, he wanted to kill her, but in Jewish families not accepted kill wives for treason. To divorce he, too, could not, in Jewish families not accepted the divorce. Especially in such families as he and his wife
Adele — in the elite families of Austrian Jewish Diaspora. In such families, marriages are forever. The money should go to the money, capital to capital. This marriage was approved by the parents on both sides. Adele's father, Moritz Bauer, a big banker, Chairman of the Austrian Association of Bankers, long sought worthy grooms for their daughters, and
chose brothers Ferdinand and Gustav Bloch, engaged in sugar production and had several businesses,
shares are continuously growing.
At the wedding, feasted all of Vienna, but after the merger of capital both families became Bloch-Bauers. And now the largest sugar manufacturer in Europe, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer was on the pavement and felt on his head, under a luxurious satin cylinder, branched antlers grow. Everyone is discussing a torrid romance his wife Adele and painter Gustav Klimt. He did not sleep many nights, he lay staring into the darkness until you come up with his revenge...Adelka...So he called her — no, Adele, Adelka.
He was not so educated and well read, like Adele, but he also knew things, and could know, for example, that
the ancient Indians to separate the lovers, their chains chained to each other and kept together until they started to hate each other as much as recently loved.
This idea came to him in a dream. He dreamed that his sugar Empire collapsed at the little sugar pieces and the little men carried off everything in their small burrows, and he's only got a portrait of his wife Adele.
He will order him (Klimt) portrait of Adele! And let Klimt make 100 sketches until it will not turn from it. He can't — he needs to change Nudes, mistresses, concubines, women around him. Otherwise it is suffocating. No wonder he is credited with fourteen illegitimate children. Let him write this portrait a few years! And let Adelka sees Klimt's feelings fade away. Let them know who she it, of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, traded!
And leave they can't. A contract is serious business. And in it a fine exceeding the amount of the contract dozens of times. Ferdinand will be able to easily destroy Klimt.
Collector coin with a fragment of "Adele" with denomination of 50 euros. The market value of 505 euros.
Ferdinand decided to order Klimt portrait of Adele and call the painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", thus perpetuating his name.
Treated kindly by the authorities Klimt was very fashionable and popular artist, his paintings were a good investment, and Ferdinand understood this perfectly. Over the past few years, the Klimt and his brother traveled all over the country, making the pavilion of mineral waters in carlsbad, the Metropolitan Burgtheater, the Villa of the Empress Sissi. In twenty-six Klimt received the Golden order of merit, twenty-eight — Imperial prize.
So Ferdinand was very carefully prepared contract with Klimt, this issue is it the best lawyers, and now it was important to Klimt signed the papers.
When Ferdinand came home, Adele sat on the couch in the living room and smoked, as usual, a cigarillo in the mouthpiece. She loved the Apple tobacco. Her thin slender body was like a Panther at rest, so it was graceful. Delicate features and dark hair were good. Adele is accustomed to happy "doing nothing".
She grew up in a very wealthy family, surrounded by an army of servants. In those days, somehow, the girls could not study in a University, but the parents of Adele gave her a good education at home. Adele was a very romantic lady, reading the classics in four languages, and miraculously combined a painful fragility of the air with a haughty arrogance of millionaire. Married Adele entertained herself with the contents of fashion salon where the assembled poets, artists and the cream of the secular society of Vienna. There they met Gustav.
Passing into the parlor, Ferdinand invited Adele to get dressed, since he had invited Klimt to lunch. At the mention of Climte Adele broke out, and it did not escape the eyes of her husband. Gustav Klimt arrived without delay, in any case, taking a frame for a picture.
Very interesting, but he always started with the frame. His brother made a beautiful frame, and Klimt had written his masterpiece. Lunch passed quietly, apart from the fact that Gustave and Adele stubbornly refused to look at each other. Ferdinand, on the contrary, was cheerful and joked continuously.
After lunch, all three of them gathered in the living room, and between them took place about such dialogue:
The Ferdinand (officially): — Mr. Klimt! You probably already guessed that I invited You to make a reservation and therefore had taken the subframe? I'd like to make You an unusual portrait of my wife Adele.
Klimt: — What is it supposed to be unusual?
Ferdinand: that must have existed at least several centuries!
Klimt (interested): — I wonder, I Wonder... a few centuries. Never know. I'm interested to portray the most important points of human life: Conception, Pregnancy, Birth, Youth, the Noon of Life, old Age..
Ferdinand: — But the Bible was written by the people, Sistine Madonna drew people and these works live on for centuries! So You do a portrait of my wife as the Madonna of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and let this portrait of lives for centuries!
Klimt: — You put to me a very difficult task!
Ferdinand: — And we're not going anywhere. I'll pay You a nice advance, You don't think about money.
Klimt: — this pattern may require additional costs.
Ferdinand: For Example?
Klimt: — for Example, the dress I would like to decorate with gold plates…
Ferdinand: — If You are going to deal with dress my wife gold, and to draw attention to the lower part of the picture, I'll buy a necklace in the hope of attracting attention to the upper part of the picture.
Adele (ironically): — Here you have all of me and share. I can only "lay down on your chest" to draw attention to the middle part of the picture.
Ferdinand: — I would like to portrait my wife did not contain exposed places like your portrait of Judith.
Klimt: — Of Course. I will make a sketch, and only after your approval will start the main work.
Seeing the amount of the contract, Gustav Klimt signed it without even reading it. Of course he suspected that he was a great artist, but the price that was offered him by Ferdinand, it was just stunned.
About one hundred sketches of Klimt wrote to this portrait. And finished working on her for four years.
Ferdinand was satisfied. The painting was finished (and in fact many of the paintings remained unfinished) and completely answered his purpose. They adelu hung it in the living room of their Vienna home.
"Golden Adele", fragment
Clearly, the relationship of Klimt and Adele gradually faded. Shortly after beginning work on the picture Adele was sick, and Klimt had to do prolonged work interruptions.
Adele was sick, and it smoked a lot, often spending the whole day, not getting out of bed. God has not given them all children. She tried to give birth three times and each time the children died. All my unspent motherly love Adele moved to the children of his sister, emphasizing his niece Maria Bloch-Bauer. Maria often came to sit with a sick aunt, they discussed the latest fashion trends and styles dresses for your first prom Mary. As well as paintings of Klimt, which the house of Adele and Ferdinand had accumulated more than ten pieces.
Ferdinand spent his time dedicating his work in his sugar Empire. He never told Adele that he knew about her relationship with Gustav.
As time went on, approaching the First World war. The "Golden period" Klimt's life came to an end, giving way to a disappointing paintings of death and the end of the world. Klimt is very hard to bear events in the world. The war affected him disastrous. And at the age of 52, in 1918, Klimt died suddenly of a stroke in his workshop in the hands of his eternal companion Emilia Flee.
Emilia Flege and Gustav Klimt
Adele survived him by seven years and died in 1925, he passed away quietly after having meningitis. Before her death, Adele asked Ferdinand to bequeath three paintings, including "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", the Viennese Museum Belvedere.
Ferdinand lived alone, his life became harder and harder since Austria in 1938 became part of Germany, and the Nazis began the hunt for Austrian Jews. In the same year, Ferdinand succeeded to escape to Switzerland, leaving all their possessions in the care of his brother's family.
The painting remained in the living room, approached the Second World War.
Next, the story will focus on Mary Bloch-Bauer (after marriage of Maria Altman) — the woman who picked up the baton in the history of the painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer".
Gustav Bloch-Bauer, brother of Ferdinand, was her husband's sister Adele. In their family were five children, the same Maria who came to see Adele during his illness was the youngest. Oddly enough, they lived very modestly, dressed simply and children were only allowed the cheap Italian ice cream. Out of the family sugar business Mary's father was a good musician and a friend of Rothschild, who brought into their home a cello, Stradivari, and then there were going to almost all indifferent to high art in Vienna.
When Mary was a teenager, her bound tender friendship with Alois Kunst from school that was nepodaleku from the one where she studied. She often invited him to the house of her aunt Adele and together they viewed the scene. Maria even invited Alois to your first ball. And it meant that Alois was presented and approved by the parents Mary, who considered him a cultural and well-mannered young man. Aunt Adele was allowed Maria to wear her diamond necklace, which posed for Klimt. Maria remembered this ball for life. They Alois knew that the picture a secret. If you look at Adele's at a certain angle and make a wish, then the corners of the lips can determine Adele smiles or frowns. If smiles wish will come true.
Gustav Klimt, the Dancer (1916-1918.)
Married but Mary had married someone else. Frederick Altman was an Opera singer, the son of a major industrialist. Money is money, capital to capital. Apparently, his parents were more wealthy. They were married in 1938, on the eve of the German invasion of Austria. But despite an arranged marriage, Mary loved her husband and lived with him all his life. Famous diamond necklace in which Adele Bloch-Bauer Gustav Klimt was posing, her uncle Ferdinand gave her as a wedding gift.
When the Nazis began the hunt for Austrian Jews, Ferdinand fled to Switzerland, but her husband Frederick was arrested and taken to the Gestapo. A little later he was in the concentration camp at Dachau, where thousands of Jews were turned into black smoke once gave all his property to the German authorities. The Gestapo broke into the house of Mary in Vienna and took all the jewels and a Stradivarius cello, and a diamond necklace Adele just put it in a bag (there were witnesses that this necklace several times and then appeared in public on the wife of Heinrich Himmler). Maria spared nothing and immediately signed all the necessary papers, which refused all movable and immovable property. She was ready to do everything just to save her husband from death.
Dachau Concentration Camp
Maria waited from day to day will be taken and the "Golden Adele". She almost wasn't surprised when after the picture, accompanied by a detachment of the Gestapo, came to her school friend Alois Kunst. Kunst collaborated with the Nazis, collecting for their collection of paintings, some of which settled in the recesses and vaults of the Third Reich. When she asked how he could become a traitor, he said that he can do for Austria is much more.
Adolf Hitler, a positive attitude to the work of Gustav Klimt. They met with Klimt, when Hitler tried to enter the Academy of Painting in Vienna. Then, Klimt was already an honorary Professor of this Academy. At that time Hitler earned his living by drawing small pictures with views of Vienna and selling them to tourists in restaurants and taverns. He came to Klimt, to show their work and maybe take some art lessons. Kindness, Klimt Hitler declared that he's a genius, and his lessons do not need to take. Hitler went from Klimt very happy, and my friends said that he recognized the Klimt. The Academy of painting Hitler never came, instead there took Oskar Kokoschka, a Jew by nationality. Maybe that's why Hitler once said that his hatred of Jews is purely personal.
Paintings Of Adolf Hitler
But the paintings of Klimt, this hatred is not touched, they had been ordered to protect, despite the Jewish origin of the author.
When the "Golden Adele" went out of his home, the Fuhrer took her in my collection: Adele was an outspoken Jew, and, as you know, this picture could not hang nor the Reichstag, nor in other places, Nazi Germany. It is therefore necessary to focus on the appearance of Adele Bloch-Bauer, who saved the painting from destruction. The painting disappeared. No one knows where the portrait of Adele all the war years.
Cherish...Alois Kunst, in perfect condition, it has emerged after the war and settled in the Central Museum of the Belvedere in Vienna. And Alois Kunst became Director of the Museum and continued to keep his beloved relic.
Museum Belvedere, Vienna
Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer died in November 1945, all alone. None of the relatives could not accompany him on his last way.
Mary's husband is lucky: the Gestapo investigator was a friend of Altman, with whom Frederick had been backpacking once and saved him, pulling out of the abyss. They ran fake documents. The Gestapo chased them. Maria recalled how the plane, which flew from Vienna to London and was already taxied to the runway, suddenly turned off the engine and came armed Gestapo with machine guns. Altman sat gripping the seat, thinking that for them. But then they brought someone else.
Maria Altmann kept the torn stockings, in which she and her husband climbed over the barbed wire. She considered them a symbol of their freedom. Spouses Altman moved first to England and then to USA. After some time, Maria became an American citizen.
All was quiet, up until the annoying journalist Hubertus Czernin dug up the will of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer left before his death in Switzerland cancels all previous wills. In it Ferdinand bequeathed all property to his nephews — the children of his brother Gustav Bloch-Bauer. Capital, in his opinion, had to work for the family. At that time survived Maria, and that was already over 80 years old. But John understood that this was his finest hour. Despite his count's origin, he was poor but he loved to live large. He understood that the American millionaire dumps a good amount for this information. And so it happened. Maria considered herself an eternal debt to him.
Lawyer Randol Schoenberg with the heiress Maria Altmann, between them the image of "Golden Adele" by Gustav Klimt. Illustration: Katharina Klein
All of Austria alarmed, as a hornet's nest! The headlines of Austrian Newspapers yelled: "Austria loses its relics!!!""Don't give America our national heritage!!!". The police showered threats that the picture will be destroyed, but America will not go. In the end the management of the Museum decided to remove the "Golden Adele", from a sin far away in the vaults.
Surprisingly, George W. Bush, using some of his levers did not give the cause of progress on the paintings. He did not want to spoil relations with the Austrians. Maria Altmann fought for their property as long as seven years. Courts have engaged in formal replies and come up with reasons not to review the case. But lawyers for Mary conducted an investigation and found out that Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer had citizenship of the Czech Republic, and managed to achieve the transfer of the court hearings on the territory of the United States, because on paper, the U.S. citizen requested to legitimize the bequest of a citizen of the Czech Republic. "What is Austria?"they asked.
And Austria has nothing to do with it. And the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Austria was obliged to return five paintings by Gustav Klimt, including "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", the legitimate heir, Maria Altmann.
Four paintings were returned to Maria Altmann, along with "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer". Clockwise: "birch forest" (1903), "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer-2" (1912), "at Home in the private beach area near the Attersee" (1916), "Apple tree I" (1912)
Mary was not happy and insisted on having the painting left the borders of Austria. She asked me to pay her market value. All five paintings were assigned a price of 155 thousand dollars. This amount was unaffordable for the Ministry of culture of Austria.
All of Austria came to the defense of the "Golden Adele." Austria has taken the unprecedented in the history of state action to save the national heritage. Negotiated with banks on loans for the purchase of artworks. The government appealed to the public asking for help, intending to issue bonds "Klimt". The public declared a subscription to raise funds. Donations began to arrive, despite the fact not only from the Austrians. The Austrian government has almost collected the required amount.
But raised around paintings boom inflated their market value. Mary Altman was a rare chance to enter the history of Austria, showing the nobility and leaving Klimt paintings in his Homeland. Of course, not free, and the original estimate of $ 155 million was considered in Austria as a fair compensation. However, Maria decided to raise the price to $ 300 million…
To carry out the "Golden Adele" drew thousands of locals, people come from all over Austria. Crowds of people lined the streets in armored vehicles exported relics. Some people were crying. No joke, the Portrait of Adele was a symbol of Austria for nearly 100 years.
Poster "Ciao, Adele". Social advertising in Vienna, to send "Adele" in the United States (February 2006)
After some time, for 135 million dollars Maria Altmann sold "Portrait of Adele Bloch - Bauer" Ronald Lauder, owner of the perfumery concern "esti Lauder". Ronald Lauder built a new house for the Golden Adele, which he called "a Museum of Austrian and German art", and today the picture is there.
Journalist Hubertus Czernin was not able to use the money from Maria Altmann, because he died four months after the removal of the Klimt paintings. The official version of the police — heart attack.
Maria Altmann died in 2011 at the age of 94 years.
But Golden Adele today are very popular in the world.
She write poetry:
From what I know the far lands
You came into my life, Golden Adele?
Your neck curve, your lips, rosanil –
All so wonderfully in you Golden Adele…
Sad eyes sweet hops
Hurts the soul-forgotten dream, ma Belle,
And breaking gentle hands, and blush pastels –
Only you, only you — the Golden Adele…
You sit as Queen on the throne... can it be true
Your brief life as a swing-carousel,
Flashes, wisely met the fatal goal?
Hold on! Stay with me, Golden Adele…
Circulate it as you can:
Everyone involved has gone to another world, and Golden Adele is alive and will live forever, as wanted Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer.