Lost Art Is Reclaimed In 'Woman In Gold'

April 2, 2015 9:03 PM

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Gustav Klimt's famous painting of a dark-eyed beauty encased in shimmering gold lozenges is often dismissed by art critics as a disappointing excursion into kitsch by the avant-garde Austrian painter. But the portrait, commissioned by a wealthy Jewish family not long before the outbreak of World War II, has brought visceral pleasure to countless owners of postcards, posters and key-rings who have yet to set foot in New York's Neue Galerie, where the original hangs today. How it got there from Vienna makes for a sensational true-life tale, however staidly told in the new film Woman in Gold.

To Maria Altmann, an elderly Los Angeles Jewish dress-shop owner played in the movie by Helen Mirren, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer was a precious reminder of her glamorous and beloved Aunt Adele, lost forever in the wake of Nazi art theft. Before her premature death, Bloch-Bauer had bequeathed the ...

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