Book Review: 'The Lady in Gold' by Ann-Marie O'Connor

A story about international intrigue as published in the March 2012 issue

by Caryn James
lady in gold image
Photograph: Peter Ardito

A forward-thinking matron in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, Adele Bloch-Bauer is most recognizedtoday as the subject of a famous painting by Art Nouveau master Gustav Klimt. With her strong jaw and heavy-lidded eyes, Bloch-Bauer—Klimt’s muse and rumored lover—looks as “sultry as a diva of thesilentscreen,” says Anne-Marie O’Connor in the captivating biography The Lady in Gold(Knopf). She describes how the Nazis stole the painting and erased the subject’s Jewish identity by changing the title from Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauerto Dame in Gold. In the 1990s Bloch-Bauer’s niece, an octogenarian living in Los Angeles, successfully sued for the portrait’s return from Austria. It now hangs in New York’s Neue Galerie, a symbol of a lost world and a tribute to a determined, justice-seeking heir.

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First published in the March 2012 issue

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