The story of one of the most expensive paintings in the world
• The story of one of the most expensive paintings in the world
It is a story in which there is love and hate, betrayal and revenge, pursuit and sacrifice. Moral of the story is not - what could be morality in history, which brings together the genius of Gustav Klimt, the femme fatale Adele Bloch-Bauer paintings worth $ 135 million, Adolf Hitler, George W. Bush, the US Government and people of Austria?
You've probably already guessed that we are talking about a picture of Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer" or "Golden Adele".
And it all began:
1904. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer was the paved sidewalk, whistling a merry tune, swinging his cane, sometimes stopping and bowing politely counter masters.
He had already decided for themselves. First, of course, he wanted to kill her, but in Jewish families is not accepted to kill their wives for adultery. Divorce he could not - pending divorce in Jewish families. Especially in such families as he and his wife Adele - in the elite families of the Austrian Jewish community. 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, the big banker, chairman of the Association of the Austrian Bankers have long sought worthy suitors for his daughters, and brothers chose Ferdinand and Gustav Bloch, engaged in the production of sugar and had several companies whose shares are continuously growing.
At the wedding, I feasted all Vienna, and after the merger of capital, both families became Bloch-Bauer. And now the largest European sugar-Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer was walking on the pavement and felt on his head, a luxurious satin cylinder grow branched antlers. Only lazy people do not discuss whirlwind romance his wife Adele and painter Gustav Klimt. He had not slept for many nights in a row, and he lay staring into the darkness, until he came up with his revenge ... Adelke ... So he called her - not Adele and Adelka.
Suppose he were not so educated and well-read, like Adele, but it is also something that he knew and could know, for example, that the ancient Indians to separate the lovers, chained their chains to each other and held together until they started to hate each other as much as recently enjoyed.
This idea came to him in a dream. He dreamed that his sugar empire disintegrated into smaller sugar pieces, and the little men have taken away all of his little hole, and it was only a portrait of his wife Adele.
He will order him (Klimt) Portrait of Adele! And let Klimt sketches make 100 until it will not turn out from it. He will not for a long time - it is necessary to change of models, mistresses, concubines surrounding women. Otherwise, he is suffocating. No wonder he is credited with fourteen illegitimate children. Let him write this portrait a few years! And let Adelka sees Klimt feelings fade. Let understand what she him, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, exchanged!
And they will not be able to leave. Contract - a serious matter. And in it a fine exceeding the amount of the contract is ten times. Ferdinand could easily ruin Klimt.
collectible coin with a fragment of "Adele" nominal value of 50 euros. Market value - 505 euros.
Ferdinand decided to order a Klimt portrait of Adele and called the painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", thus perpetuating his name.
Caressed by the authorities Klimt was a very fashionable and popular artist, his paintings have a good capital investment, and Ferdinand knew it perfectly. Over the past few years, Klimt and his brother have traveled all over the country, making out the pavilion of mineral water in Carlsbad, the capital's Burgtheater, the villa of the Empress Sissi. In twenty-six Klimt received the Golden Order "For Merit", in twenty-eight - Praemium Imperiale.
Therefore, Ferdinand very carefully prepared contract with Klimt, these issues are dealt with his best lawyers, and now it was important to Klimt signed the papers. When Ferdinand came home, Adele was lying on the couch in the living room, smoking as usual cigarillo in the mouthpiece. She loved the apple tobacco. Its slim supple figure looked like a panther on vacation, so she was graceful. Delicate features and dark hair were good. Adele accustomed to happy "doing nothing".
She grew up in a very wealthy family, surrounded by servants army. At that time, for some reason, the girls could not study at the university, but parents Adele gave her a good education at home. Adele was very romantic lady, reading the classics in four languages and a surprising combination of painful fragility air with proud arrogance millionaire. The married Adele entertained herself content fashion salon, where the assembled poets, artists and the cream of high society of Vienna. There they met with Gustav and.
Going into the living room, Ferdinand offered Adele change because he invited to dinner by Klimt. At the mention of Klimt Adele broke out, and it did not escape from the eyes of her husband. Gustav Klimt arrived without delay, in any case taking with a frame for a picture.
Very interesting, but he always started from the frame. His brother was producing a beautiful frame and Klimt has entered to his masterpiece. Lunch was quiet, except for the fact that Gustav and Adele stubbornly refused to look at each other. Ferdinand, by contrast, was cheerful and joked continuously.
, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer
After dinner, the three of them gathered in the living room, and took about a dialogue between them:
Ferdinand (officially): - Mr Klimt! You probably already guessed that I invited you to make a booking and therefore brought with them a stretcher? I would like you to order an unusual portrait of my wife Adele.
Klimt: - What is it to be unusual?
Ferdinand: - that there should exist at least several centuries!
Klimt (with interest): - It is interesting, interesting ... several centuries. I do not know. I am interested to represent the most important points of a person's life: conception, pregnancy, birth, youth, Afternoon of Life, Old Age .. Ferdinand: - But the Bible written by men, a man painted the Sistine Madonna and these works live through the ages! So you do a portrait of my wife as the Madonna of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and let the portrait lives in centuries!
Klimt: - You put me in front of a very difficult task!
Ferdinand: - And we do not hurry. I will pay you a good advance, so that you did not think about money.
Klimt - A similar pattern may require additional costs.
Ferdinand: - For example?
Klimt: - For example, a dress, I would like to finish with gold plates ...
Ferdinand: - If you are going to decorate the dress my wife's gold, and draw attention to the bottom of the picture, then I'll buy a necklace, hoping to attract attention to the upper part of the picture.
Adele (ironically): - Here you have all of me and shared. I just have to "lay down the handle on the chest 'to draw attention to the middle of the picture.
Ferdinand: - I would like to see a portrait of my wife did not contain nudity places like your portrait of Judith.
Klimt: - Of course. I made a sketch, and only after your approval proceed to substantive work.
Seeing the amount of the contract, Gustav Klimt signed it without even reading. He certainly suspected that he was a brilliant artist, but the price offered him Ferdinand, simply stunned.
About a hundred sketches Klimt wrote to this portrait. And I finished working on it for four years.
Ferdinand was pleased. The painting was completed (and in fact many of the paintings remained unfinished) and in full compliance with his plan. They Adele hung it in the living room of their Vienna home.
"Golden Adele" fragment
It is obvious that the relationship Klimt and Adele gradually faded. After some time after the start of work on the painting Adele ill and Klimt had to do prolonged outages.
Adele was sick, and at the same time a lot of smoke, often spending the whole day without getting up from bed. God did not give them to children with Ferdinand. She was trying to give birth three times and each time the children died. All my unspent motherly love Adele suffered at his sister's children, highlighting his niece Maria Bloch-Bauer. Mary often came to sit with a sick aunt, they discussed the latest fashion trends and styles of dresses for the Inaugural Ball Mary. As well as painting by Klimt, which the house of Adele and Ferdinand had accumulated more than ten pieces. Ferdinand spent his time, devoting his work in their sugar empire. He never told Adele that he knew about her relationship with Gustav.
As time went on, approaching the First World War. "Golden Age" in the life of Klimt came to an end, giving way to a bleak picture with the image of death and the end of the world. Klimt is very difficult to tolerate the events taking place in the world. The war affected him fatal. And at age 52, in 1918, Klimt died suddenly of a stroke in his workshop in the hands of his eternal companion Emilia FLEG.
Emilia-FLEG and Gustav Klimt
Adele survived him for seven years and died in 1925, died quietly after meningitis. Before his death, Adele asked Ferdinand to bequeath three paintings, including "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", the Viennese museum Belvedere.
Ferdinand lived alone, his life was getting harder and harder as Austria in 1938 became a part of Germany, the Nazis began to hunt for the Austrian Jews. In the same year, Ferdinand was able to escape to Switzerland, leaving all their possessions in the care of a brother of the family.
The painting remained in the living room, near the World War II.
Next, the story will be about Mary Bloch-Bauer (after marriage - Maria Altmann) - a woman who has taken over the baton in the history of the painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I".
Gustav Bloch-Bauer, brother of Ferdinand, accounted for her husband's sister Adele. In their family of five children, the same Mary, visiting Adel during his illness was the youngest. Oddly enough, they lived very modestly, dressed simply and children allowed only the cheapest Italian ice cream. Outside the family sugar business Mary's father was a good musician and friend of Rothschild, which brought to their house cello Stradivarius, and then there's going to almost all indifferent to the high art of Vienna.
When Mary was a teenager, it is associated with a tender friendship Alois Koons from school that was nepodoleku from the one where she studied. She often invited him to the house of her aunt Adele and together they looked at the picture. Maria even invited Alois on his first ball. This meant that Alois was presented and approved by the parents of Mary, who believed its cultural and well-mannered young man. Aunt Adele Marie allowed to wear their diamond necklace, which posed for Klimt. Mary remembered this ball for life. They Alois knew that the painting has a secret. If you look at Adele at a certain angle and make a wish, then the corners of the lips can be determined Adel smiles or frowns. If smiles - wish will come true.
Gustav Klimt, "Dancer" (1916-1918.)
But married Mary married another. Frederick Altman was an opera singer, the son of a major industrialist. Money is money, capital to capital. Apparently, his parents were better off. They married in 1938, on the eve of the German invasion of Austria. But, despite the marriage contract, Mary loved her husband and lived with him for his entire life. The famous diamond necklace in which Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt posed, her uncle Ferdinand had given her as a wedding gift.
When the Nazis started to hunt for Austrian Jews, Ferdinand fled to Switzerland, and her husband Frederick was captured and sent to the Gestapo. A little later he was in the concentration camp in Dachau, where thousands of Jews were turned into black smoke after being transferred all his property to the German authorities. The Gestapo broke into the house of Mary in Vienna and took all the valuables and Stradivarius cello, and a diamond necklace Adele simply shoved into the bag (there were witnesses that this necklace a few times and then appeared in public wife of Heinrich Himmler). Maria did not regret anything and immediately signed all the necessary papers, which renounced all movable and immovable property. She was ready to do anything just to save her husband from death.
Dachau Concentration Camp
Maria waited from day to day will be taken and the "Golden Adele". It almost was not surprised when the pattern, accompanied by a detachment of the Gestapo came her school friend Alois Kunst. Kunst has collaborated with the Nazis, gathering for their collection of paintings, some of which ended up in the basement of the recesses and the Third Reich. When she asked how he could become a traitor, he said, so he can do much more for Austria.
Adolf Hitler had 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 has been an honorary professor at the academy. While Hitler made his living by drawing small pictures with views of Vienna and sold them to tourists in restaurants and taverns. He came to Klimt, to show their work and maybe take some lessons of painting. Kindness, Klimt Hitler announced that he had a genius and he does not need to take lessons. Hitler left by Klimt very pleased, and his friends said that he recognized himself Klimt. The Academy of Painting, Hitler never did, instead, to take Oskar Kokoschka, a Jew by nationality. Maybe that's why Hitler once said that his hatred of Jews - this is purely personal.
Paintings by Adolf Hitler
But Klimt paintings that hatred is not touched, they were ordered to protect, despite the author's Jewish ancestry.
When the "Golden Adele" left the family home, the Fuehrer did not take it to your collection: Adele was outspoken Jew, and, as you can imagine, such a pattern could not hang any of the Reichstag or in other places of Nazi Germany. It is therefore necessary to focus on the appearance of Adele Bloch-Bauer, who saved a picture of death. The painting disappeared. No one knows where the portrait of Adele war years.
cherished ... Alois Kunst in perfect condition, it emerged after the war and settled in the Central Museum of the Belvedere in Vienna. But Alois Kunst became director of the museum and continued to keep his favorite relic.
Belvedere Museum, Vienna
Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer died in November 1945 alone. None of the family could not accompany him on his last journey.
Mary and her husband were lucky: the Gestapo investigator was familiar Altman, with whom Frederick mountaineering and once saved him, pulled out of the abyss. They fled on forged documents. Gestapo pursued them. Maria recalled, as in the plane, which took off from Vienna to London and already taxiing to the runway, suddenly turn off the engine and entered Gestapo armed with machine guns. Altman sat gripping the chair, thinking it was for them. But then they brought someone else.
Maria Altmann carefully preserved torn stockings, in which they husband climbed over the barbed wire. She considered them a symbol of their freedom. Altman wife moved first to England and then to the United States. After some time, Maria became an American citizen.
All was quiet, as long as the hard-bitten journalist Hubertus Czernin not dug out the will of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer left before his death in Switzerland, replaces all previous wills. It Ferdinand bequeathed all the property of his nephews - children brother Gustav Bloch-Bauer. Capital, in his opinion, had to work for the family. At that time, there was one in the living Marie, and that has been for 80 years. But Hubertus knew it was his finest hour. Despite its origins Count, he was poor, but he loved to live in grand style. He knew that the American millionaire roll away a good amount of the information. And so it happened. Mary considered herself an eternal owe to him.
The lawyer Rendall Schoenberg with the heiress Maria Altmann, between the image "Golden Adele" by Gustav Klimt. Illustration: Katharina Klein
All Austria became alarmed as a hornet's nest! Austrian newspaper headlines screamed: "Austria loses its relics !!!" "We will not let America !!! our national heritage." The police fell threat that the picture will be destroyed, but America will not go. In the end, the museum directorate has decided to remove the "Golden Adele", from harm's way, to the store.
Surprisingly, George W. Bush, using some of his leverage, did not give the cause of progress pictures. He did not want to spoil relations with the Austrians. Maria Altmann fought for their property seven long years. The courts were engaged in formal replies and come up with reasons not to hear the case. But Mary lawyers conducted an investigation and found out that Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer had Czech citizenship, and were able to achieve transfer of the hearing to the United States as a US citizen on paper asked to legalize the will of the citizen of the Czech Republic. "If what is Austria?" - they asked.
And Austria was innocent. And by the decision of the US Supreme Court of Austria was obliged to return five paintings by Gustav Klimt, including "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer", the legitimate heir - Maria Altmann.
The four paintings that were returned to Maria Altmann with "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." Clockwise: "Birch Grove" (1903), "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer-2" (1912), "Houses in Unterahe near Attersee" (1916), "Apple Tree I" (1912)
Mary was happy and did not insist on that picture left outside Austria. She asked her to pay their fair market value. For all five paintings were assigned to the price of 155 million. Dollars. This amount was unaffordable for the Ministry of Culture of Austria.
All of Austria came to the defense "Golden Adele". Austria has taken unprecedented in the history of the state measures to rescue the national patrimony. Negotiated with banks for a loan for the purchase of paintings. The Government has appealed to the people to ask for help, intending to release "Klimt bonds." He announced the public subscription to raise funds. Donations began to come, though, not only from the Austrians. The Government of Austria is almost gathered the required amount.
But the raised around paintings hype inflated their market value. At Maria Altmann was a rare chance to enter history in Austria, showing generosity and leaving Klimt paintings in his homeland. Of course, not free of charge, and the initial estimate of $ 155 million seen in Austria as fair compensation. However, Mary decided to raise the price to 300 million. Dollars ...
To conduct the "Golden Adele" was attended by thousands of residents of Vienna, people come from all over Austria. Crowds of people lined the streets, which were taken in armored cars relics. Some people were crying. Joke, Portrait of Adele was a symbol of Austria for nearly 100 years.
Poster "Chao Adele." Social advertising in Vienna, dedicated to sending "Adele" in the United States (February 2006)
After some time, for $ 135 millon Maria Altmann sold "Portrait of Adele Bauer Bloh-" Ronald Lauderu, the owner of the perfumery concern "Estee Lauder". Ronald Lauder built a new house for the Golden Adele, which is called the "Museum of the Austrian and German art," and today the picture is there.
Journalist Hubertus Czernin was not able to take advantage of money received from Maria Altmann, because he died four months after the removal of the Klimt paintings. Police official version - a heart attack.
Maria Altmann died in 2011 at the age of 94 years.
But Golden Adele is very popular in the world today.
She wrote poems:
From what I unknown distant lands
You came into my life, golden Adele?
Bend your neck, your lips rozanel -
Everything is so wonderful in you, the golden Adele ...
Sorrowful eyes of your sweet hops
Injures the soul-forgotten dream, ma Belle, and fractures gentle hands, and blush pastel -
Everything only you, only you - the golden Adele ...
You sit on the throne of the queen ... Can it be true
Your short life as carrousels, will fly wisely encountering a fatal goal? Wait a minute! Be with me, golden Adele ...
Her replicate, they can:
All the participants in this event went to another world, and the Golden Adele is alive and will live forever, as wanted by Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer.