Archive for the ‘Adele Bloch-Bauer’ Category

Off the Wall


“Where Do We Come From?”
We come from far away.
“What Are We?”
We are tourists, come to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to see the above masterpiece by Paul Gauguin.
“Where Are We Going?”
We’re going to Chicago because dang it all, it’s on loan there through May 12th as part of the fabulous exhibition “From Cezanne to Picasso, Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde.

Sheesh! As if Mona
tired of mystery, and left the Louvre;

finally figured out what she wanted, and asked for privacy in her own parlor, away from the masses at New York’s Neue Galerie;

or Aristotle tired of just hanging out with Homer and contemplating,

so he left the Met to pawn his chain and have some fun,

‘La Grande Jatte’ at the Art Institute of Chicago, well, what if it just took a Sunday afternoon off?

If I traveled to see any of those paintings and they weren’t where they’re expected to be, I’d be upset. I’m amazed Boston lent the Gauguin for such a long period of time. Wonder what they’ll get in return? So make sure you see, when and where you can, the great “D’ou venons.”

That’s the “nickname” of the painting, it’s title in French, shortened. Curators who spend a lot of time with it call it that.

The “D’ouvenons.” Does it sound like the name of a fancy new condo building?

Before you go see the painting,
read this

“All this is set in a paradise of tropical beauty: the Tahiti of sunlight, freedom, and color that Gauguin left everything to find. A little river runs through the woods, and behind it is a great slash of brilliant blue sea, with the misty mountains of another island rising beyond Gauguin wanted to make it absolutely clear that this picture was his testament. He seems to have concocted a story that, being ill and unappreciated (that part was true enough), he determined on suicide – the great refusal. He wrote to a friend, describing his journey into the mountains with arsenic. Then he found himself still alive, and returned to paint more masterworks. It is sad that so great an artist felt he needed to manufacture a ploy to get people to appreciate his work. I wish he could see us now, looking with awe at this supreme painting.”

Architecture is undervalued


People are wondering why Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer sold for a reported $135 million. Some ask if that was that too much. Some, like me, don’t think so. The painting is one-of-a-kind unfathomably great, full of mystery.

But my question is, how can that painting go for $135 million,
and another masterpiece by an undeniably top-ranked artist,
another work that ushered in the modern era,
another work full of love for a woman,

The Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe –
how come that sold at auction in 2003 for only around $ 7.5 million?!

It even has land attached!

How can “Adele” be worth $135 million and “Edith” only $7.5 million?

I’d rather have the Farnsworth. And with all the money I’d save I’d buy lots of Windex.


Adele a deal


For only about $135 million Ronald Lauder gets the woman he desired.
Look how beautiful. Adele Bloch-Bauer. But what hides she in her hand ?

Those eyes have seen something, and long to be saved from sadness. Those sensuous lips to kiss, the one odd hand, and the other caressing it. Symbolically man-woman, like the Mona Lisa? That regal nose, that hair, her crown in a field of gold, the opposite of normal – usually the crown is gold. I think Gustav Klimt here emphasizes the Jewishness of Ms. Bloch.

Do those eyes on her dress,recall these, for example, from

I think so. Those Jewish “lucky eyes” are supposed to protect against “evil eyes.” Well, she made it through the war and out of Austria! Why does she look better to me safely outside of Austria?

I said she is like a Leonardo woman, mysterious. Here’s a key to the mystery of the painting. You see through her dress! See her figure, right where the eyes are? Such a symbol of voyeurism.

And this is also why she looks somewhat modest, and retreating. She knows we’re looking at her and through her.

Great art works are layered.

The sheer dress, and those images swimming around on it, and whatever mystery we imagine underneath, recalls Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks.
In that painting in the water in the foreground, if you look closely you can see little protozoa swimming around; an early pictorial lesson in evolution.

But Adele’s greatest mystery is, what is she hiding from us, in her hand?

That mystery, that secret lends a mystique to her femininity, one perhaps not seen since Mona.

Adele’s right hand is bent and then faces down

the neck of a swan, say, Leonardo’s swan, the one who gets to play with Leda.

(The “Leda and the Swan” are a copy of the painting by Leonardo da Vinci, now lost.)

Remember Adolph Loos was in Vienna at the time, saying, “all art is erotic.” Dr. Freud was also a citizen.

So I feel okay asking, are those opened eggs Klimt has painted on the bottom, like Leonardo did on the left?

I don’t usually see much in reproductions, and I need to run to the Neue Galerie in New York to see Adele, but even in reproductions this one dazzles. Nice dress Ms. Bloch, — Henri Bendel? Instantly my favorite Klimt, and one of my fave paintings.

As for what is in her hand,

the painting, which Klimt spent three years on, shows
her hands twisted near her face to conceal…

a deformed finger.

And yet, $135 million dollars.

She’s worth it.

-Edward. (In love.)

And don’t miss Tyler Green’s exclusive on how Ronald Lauder and the Neue Galerie successfully woo’ed her.
The Story of Adele B,

Leda and the Swan (After Leonardo) Virgin of the Rocks
Cesare da Sesto Leonardo da Vinci
1505-10 1483-86
Oil on panel Oil on panel
Wilton House, Salisbury Mu
sée du Louvre, Paris