glittering prize - diamond necklace set
The World last month
The record sale of this portrait of Gustav Klimt marks the culmination of its sensational journey from the Vienna salon to the Los Angeles auction house through the hands of Nazi marauders.
Alix Kirsta tracked its story and met the women who fought to recover their legacy. Next Thursday's show in Neue Gracie, Upper East Side of Manhattan, has been guaranteed to be a New York chat-
The most important art activity of the year. The much-
The Bauer collection has only five paintings by Gustav Klimt, but it will attract a large number of people.
At the heart of it is the elaborate gold
Adele Bloch's 1907 portraits
Bauer has always been an idol on the 20 th.
As the most popular and widely copied century art of Klimt
Kissing is a known job.
Acquired a few weeks ago for $0. 135 billion. £73 million)
Created by the museum's founder and chairman, cosmetics heir, billionaire Ronald Lauder, the world's most expensive painting, and until recently, it is still in a conversation aboutlooted art.
Its trip to New York is an unjust end to 68 years.
However, among the thousands of visitors expected to flood the museum's wooden paneling Gallery, how many will realize the story behind the Klimt masterpiece?
In January, when a court of arbitration in Vienna ruled that the state of Vienna
The owned Belvedere gallery must return five Klimt paintings to Maria Altman, who now lives in California and is the last direct of their original owner, Ferdinand Broch.
Bauer, recovery experts around the world, expressed joy and doubt about this.
The case of Altman v. The Republic of Austria is a highly open and intense legal struggle that has aroused interest in the art world for more than seven years.
Many people think that this is a classic David and Gloria, can not win.
But a federal court in California
Ultimately the Supreme Court of the United States)
It was ruled that Altman could sue the Republic of Austria in a US court to return paintings stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
When the Austrian government claimed immunity as a sovereign state, its case was dismissed.
On November 2005, Austria accepted a full trial by the United States, agreed to arbitration and appointed an Austrian arbitrator.
Altman's victory in January was a bad day for Austria, and Austrian government officials, in order to avoid the return of broch --
The Belvedere Gallery has always regarded it as its own gallery since the war.
This is the most expensive time since the introduction of the 1998 Art return act in Austria to return looted art: at that time, it was estimated that the five Klimts together were worth $0. 3 billion or more.
Losing Klimts is not just for money;
This is a heavy blow to Austria's pride and tradition.
Gustav Klimt, the most famous artist in Austria, has always been an Austrian icon in his lifetime;
His works are sexy and complex, representing a unique era of Austrian art.
The response to the court's decision was mixed, regarding "bloch-
In the art galleries and cafes of Vienna, Bauer AFEI is still raging.
Despite Maria Altman and her colleaguesheirs (
Four children of her late sister and brother)
Many art experts have proven their claim that they are angry at Klimts being allowed to leave Vienna, believing that the government should reach an agreement with the family to keep some or all of them.
On January, Gerbert Frodl, curator of the Belvedere Gallery, said, "it is a great pity that the Republic has not purchased these photos for Austria ".
According to Austrian Prime Minister Wolfgang schüsell, Austria cannot afford it at all.
"We can't buy these paintings at all.
He said recently that further negotiations are meaningless.
The last sentence of the Minister of Culture Elizabeth heel on this issue was in February 2.
This is equivalent to the full budget of all museums in Austria.
This means we can't shop here financially.
On the first weekend of February, more than 8,000 tourists poured into Belvedere and finally saw Broch-Bauer Klimts.
They were removed from the wall the next day, and crated was transported to the United States for display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Although she's happy to take her back at the pre-
The war in Vienna, 90-year-old Maria Altman is still full of philosophy about her victory.
A few weeks before the Klimts auction, we met in her house in a quiet residential area in Los Angeles, a modest but comfortable bungalow that she had lived in for 30
Altmann admitted that she had always felt that her claim was a long process.
"I never felt like I had a big chance to win," she explained in a strong Vienna accent . ".
"If we lose, I will not despair: justice and money are the first, justice is the first, without life being threatened.
I insist that Austria should see something like justice.
Morally speaking, this is a gain, not a loss, for Austria.
She was surprised that she had become a symbol of Holocaust survivors and had made claims for compensation.
"I am not a person who wants to be a symbol of anything.
I don't want attention.
But I was both happy and surprised to hear that they were announcing the court's verdict on Radio Vienna, when the crowd in the cafe began to applaud.
Her home has traditional furniture and maintains an ancient atmosphere.
Jewels of Vienna style;
The wall is a sketch of the Austrian village and a painting of her relatives;
Display with number 17-and 18th-
Century Watch and 20-year-
Klimt's old poster of gold Adele hangs on the seatroom.
Found me a part.
In Vienna, Altman occasionally broke into Germany, recalling the arrogance of government officials.
"I had hoped that the paintings would remain in Vienna's public view after they were returned to me.
When I first made my request, I was invited to a meeting in Vienna where I met with the director of Belvedere.
He begged me: "Take the scenery, we have a lot of scenery, just don't take the portrait.
"So I wrote them a letter saying I would make sure that the gold portrait would not leave Vienna, but we had to talk about it and find a financial solution.
I offered them a very generous condition.
It was in 1999.
She did not receive a reply. 'I was 83.
Don't you think an old lady should get an answer just out of politeness?
"Despite her new boom, she is not going to move, nor is she going to trade an aging Chevrolet for a luxury model.
At the end of 1940, as a hardworking mother of four children, she began selling knitwear at home and then opened a small Beverly Hills boutique, which she had run until four years ago.
Her money will be donated to future generations to support Jewish communities in the United States, Austria and Israel, as well as the Los Angeles Opera House.
But she stressed that the case was not just about material wealth.
This is the truth.
Historically, the Austrian People are very charming at all levels of society, but they are also very disgusting.
For her, it is important that Austria, in the face of its contaminated past, must also recognize that for a long time
The historical and cultural significance of the forgotten Austrian family of persecution and murder like her.
The most important thing is that she wants
Build the truth about BlochBauer legacy.
Despite the legal and financial reasons for her victory, a more important feature of this case is the richness of its cultural history, and the fact that Altman is the last witness of an era of disappearance, seeing the story of her own family for a century, full of joy and horror.
In the last days of the declining Habsburg Empire, two branches of broch
The Bauer family is one of the most culturally and influential citizens in Vienna.
Maria, the youngest of the five children, was born on 1916.
My father's brother, Ferdinand Broch, married my mother's sister, Adele Bauer: two of Bauer's sisters married two broch brothers.
When both my aunt and my mother's brother died, the names of broch and Bauer were merged in order to keep Bauer's name.
Altman explained that Adele became a "double aunt" by blood and marriage ". Ferdinand Broch
Power is President and United.
Owner of the largest sugar factory in Austria.
He also collected one of the largest and most valuable collections on the 17 th.
19 th century porcelain
Century art of Austria
Adele, who inherited a large sum of money from her father, a banker, was a champion 'jugendstil' contemporary artist and more radical separatist movement, founded in 1898 by Gustav Klimt.
Rumors that Klimt and Adele have 12 points
Although on 1986, an American psychiatrist and her doctor who met Adele's private maid said both confirmed the relationship.
Klimt's art offers tempting clues: Adele is the only social woman he has ever painted two portraits (
Gorgeous golden portrait Adele Bloch
Bauer I, known as the "Austrian", spent three years completing and participating in nearly 200 preparation drawings);
She was also portrayed in half.
His works, Judith and Holofernes, are naked.
Her neck is the same gem.
A gift from Ferdinand, a necklace set on a golden portrait.
Art experts also speculate that she may be the woman in the kiss.
Adele and Ferdinand are one of Vienna's most famous art patrons.
Largely through the cultural enthusiasm of families like Bloch
Vienna's Bauers, fin de siècle, can compete with Paris as an emerging pioneer center.
Art, music, architecture, philosophy and literature.
She recalled that my aunt and uncle lived in a mansion, and all the works of art, including the paintings commissioned by Ferdinand from Klimt, were on display.
There Adele held her famous weekly salon;
Guests include Gustaf and Alma Mahler, Richard Strauss, artist Klimt, Egon Shearer, Oscar Kokoschka and Carl more (
Alma Mahler's stepfather)
Writers Stephen Zweig and Arthur schnitler, as well as Dr. Carl Renner, Socialist politician.
Broch outside Prague
Bowles owns a large Palladio villa and Klimt has visited Schloss Jungfer.
It is also full of art and antiques.
At 1925 Adele Broch-
Bauer died at the age of 43.
Although Altman was only nine years old at that time, her memory of her aunt was still vivid.
She is a rather indifferent intellectual woman, politically conscious and a socialist.
She is not happy.
It was an arranged marriage, but she had no children after two miscarriages and the death of a baby.
I remember she was very elegant, tall, black and thin.
She was always wearing a tight white dress with a long golden cigarette butt.
After Adele's death, Ferdinand turned her bedroom into a monument.
All Klimts hang there and there are always fresh flowers.
Our family goes to Sunday lunch, Easter and Christmas every week.
Maria's father, a lawyer, roamed the Art Gallery to offer Ferdinand new advice on acquisitions.
The Friends of the Rothschild brothers gave him their Stradivaris cello because they knew it would be played by musicians.
We put indoor music in the house every night.
Life in Vienna is wonderful.
On December 1937, at the last stylish Jewish wedding before Germany annexed Austria, Maria married an aspiring opera singer, Fritz Altman.
Her uncle gave her a diamond necklace and earrings belonging to Adele.
Then Hitler's army entered Vienna.
The bell of the church rang, and there were many people cheering on the street;
"They don't have the air of the victims," she said painfully . "
A week later, a man in a dark suit knocked at the door while Altman was alone.
Mr. Lando is an official of Gestapo.
He took all her valuables, including her engagement ring and Adele's diamond necklace and earrings.
The gifts were later given to Hitler's deputy Herman Goring as a gift to his wife.
The next day, her husband was arrested, imprisoned and later deported to Dahao.
He was held hostage there.
His brother, benhad, had a successful cashmere business in Austria, but later moved to Paris.
The Nazis told him that he would be released if Fritz had signed his knitwear factory to them.
Bernhard Altman signed the contract and a few months later, Fritz returned from Dahao.
Bauer's property, including his two homes, his art collection, has been confiscated and he has fled to Switzerland.
On October 1938, under the watch of Mr. Lando, the Alterans escaped from house arrest.
They settled in Liverpool, where he opened another Knitting Factory and moved to the United States in 1940.
At the end of the war, altemans was an American citizen and Maria was selling the new United States of Bernhard --
She made a sweater to support her family.
In 1945, she learned that Ferdinand died in Zurich in November. he was a sad and lonely man.
In a will drawn up a few weeks ago, he named Maria and her sister and brother his heir.
But, as his lawyer and friend Gustav Linesch discovered, his property has all disappeared.
The Vienna tower is now the headquarters of the Austrian National Railway;
Shares of sugar companies held by a Swiss bank in the name of Ferdinand have been sold to an investor linked to the Nazis; the Bloch-
Bauer, who became the main residence of Reinhard hedridge near Prague, ruled the Czech Republic and helped plan the "final solution ".
After the assassination of hedridge in 1941, other Germans plundered their wealth, which was seized by the new Czech Communist government after the war. Bloch-
Bauer's art collection has been classified;
Hitler, Goring and other delegates received many works, others were lying in German warehouses, and thousands of looted works of art were designated for the museum that Hitler planned to establish in Linz.
Later, we were told that Hitler wanted to buy my uncle's porcelain, but it was too expensive, so it was auctioned.
"I know everything is over.
But I was too busy with three children, struggling to make a living and asking them where they were.
Very few family connections.
My sister is in Yugoslavia where her husband was shot and killed by the Communist Party.
My brother Robert is in Canada.
In 1948, he took some small-value paintings and some porcelain.
Their lawyer, Gustav Rinesch, reported that the heirs did not file a claim with Klimts because they were donated to the Austrian Gallery, allegedly in accordance with Adele's wishes.
'We didn't see her will, so we thought it was.
It was not until the end of 1990 that Vienna's ugly and distorted legend of acquiring Klimts began to unfold.
On 1998, at an international conference on the Nazis in Washington
Austria has signed an agreement with many other countries to review the source of its museum collection.
Under the new Art return act, it undertakes to return any stolen work to its owner.
In the same year, the country's federal files were opened to the public for the first time.
In Vienna, Hubertus Czernin, 42year-
Old Campaign writers and publishers once unearthed
Secret records reveal Bloch-
Bauer klimtz becomes the property of the Belvedere Gallery.
When I read the documents and other documents sent by my niece, I saw that the paintings were not stolen once, but three times, the documents and other documents were my sister after her death in 1998, said in the old board Altman, first of all the Nazis, and secondly the Austrians.
She knew it was time to act.
Czernin has published a series of articles in Austria, revealing the scandal and similar cases, including the fate of the robbed Rothschild family.
The important evidence he provided was a copy of Adele Broch.
Bauer's will was made two years before her death, 1923.
After the war, officials at Belvedere insisted that Adele had left two of his Klimt portraits and three landscapes to the gallery.
In 1948, heir's lawyer Gustav Linesch asked to see the will, but he repeatedly refused under the wrong excuse.
Ignoring the injustice suffered by Holocaust survivors is nothing new.
The Austrian government has banned the export of works of national heritage, thus extorting many refugees living abroad to hand over valuable property.
The claimant can only obtain a permit for the export of works of art by having the state retain its options for many more valuable items.
So before renesh starts to take back some of the little remains of Ferdinand's art collection, he has to "donate" Klimt to Belvedere.
He was faced with threats and false assertions that the gallery had the right to obtain the photos according to Adele's wishes.
As Altman discovered, "bequests" is a fantasy.
Adele's will was not legally binding: leaving all her property to Ferdinand, who only asked him to leave two portraits and three landscapes to the gallery after his death.
But Klimts was entrusted and paid by Ferdinand and therefore his property.
As he noted in the probate proceedings, even if Adele's request is not legally binding, he will respect it.
It is likely that he did so intentionally.
At 1936 he donated the Klimt landscape, the Palace Kammer morning Atersee, the National Gallery.
But after Ferdinand, it's ridiculous to say anything about donating Klimt to Belvedere.
He wrote to Oscar during his exile.
He once painted his portrait)
He said: "I sincerely hope to be able to retrieve the Portrait of My Dear Adele.
There is no doubt that Altman wants his relatives to inherit the works.
"My uncle will certainly not donate anything to Austria after receiving treatment. 'A paper-
Trail represents all Bloch-
Bauer's seven Klimt paintings were created by Dr. Erich Foor, a Nazi lawyer appointed by Gestapo to liquidate Ferdinand's property.
Through him, they finally arrived at the gallery.
On October 1941, Fuehrer handed the golden portrait of Adele and Klimt's apple tree to Belvedere with a note signed "heil hitler"
In November 1942, he sold Klimt's Mount Mao green tree to the Vienna City Museum. in March 1943, Klimt's 1912 Adele portraits were bought from him by Belvedere.
That year, all Klimt's work in Vienna had a large exhibition, and Adele's golden portrait was refined: its new title was gold woman.
The most disturbing thing about Altman is the 1948 letter from Dr. ghazaloli, the new director of Belvedere, to his predecessor, which shows that he knows, "even in the Nazi era, ferdinand Bloch has also never received an indisputable gift statement from a supportive country. Bauer.
The letter warned that the situation was moving towards the sea.
"I hope you can get me out of this unchaotic situation.
Given that Ferdinand has been in exile since 1938, the idea that he has approved such a gift is absurd.
Since his death in November 1945, how could they hope to get his signature in 1948?
At the end of 1998, Maria Altman asked 32-year-old young lawyer Lando schöbergyear-
The son of an old friend of hers represents her.
According to Austria's Art return act, it appears, legally and morally, to be an unanswerable claim, but it was dismissed on June 1999.
Elislav Gehrer, Austrian Minister of Culture, said publicly that Klimts was not stolen.
It was a slap in the face for Altman.
She had lunch with Gehrer in Vienna on 1998 of the previous year and told her that Adele's will was not binding. 'She [Gehrer]
Reassure me that she knows this now and I shouldn't worry about it.
Altman's lawyer was also angered.
It was a huge gamble for scho Berg to hear the case through a US court, but he was convinced that the law was in their favor.
Over the next seven years, scho Berg was linked to the case, prompting him to resign from a successful law firm and build his own practice, a history he shared with Altman.
Randy scho Berg, the grandson of two exiled Viennese composers Arnold scho Berg and Erich zessel, is the third --
A generation of members of Hollywood's European exile community, who arrived in the 1930 s. His great-
The grandparents, Zeisls, were killed in the death camp;
His grandfather Erich Zeisl is a close friend of Maria Altman's husband in Vienna.
Scho Berg, a conservative who speaks fluent German, grew up with his family and was angry at the fate of Jews in Central Europe.
He said it is extraordinary to be involved in such a large and complex case and to have such a vital connection with it.
In addition to winning Altman's claim against Belvedere, he recently recovered Bloch-
Financial compensation for the Bauer family mansion and a Swiss bank's sale of shares.
Altmann's share reached $2 million.
To his dismay, the only statement he lost was the sixth Klimt, which will remain in the possession of Belvedere: Bloch-owned
Bauer, but not mentioned in Adele's will, is a portrait of their friend Amalie Zuckerkandl, WHO and her daughter were killed in Auschwitz.
He believed in his background to help him stick to it.
My relationship with Austria and my understanding of these compensation issues, and how to address the negative mindset of the Austrian people, I believe, helped me persevere.
I don't think it's possible for ordinary American lawyers to do the same as I do. Altman agreed.
"It's impossible to happen without Randy.
Her other hero is Czernin.
He did more to help us than anyone else.
Altman admitted to me last month that she had no idea where Klimts would end.
She could not dream of keeping them because of high insurance and security costs.
"I heard that I won that morning, and my friend Ronald laud called and said," Maria, I was thinking all night, I'm going to buy all five.
I have a perfect room in Neue Gracie.
So far, he has only bought this golden portrait, apparently offered by five museums and 10 collectors.
Altman was delighted to visit the Laud museum dedicated to Austrian and German Expressionist art.
I want it to go to a museum. it is a bridge connecting Europe and the United States.
The fate of the other klimites remains to be seen.
Vienna gallery owner John seller has launched a highly open initiative to raise funds to buy some works: his goal is to create a cultural foundation in old Broch
Power House, for the family.
Belvedere also launched an awareness-raising campaign on its website to promote Bloch-
Bauer collection and support for Austrian attempts to purchase the remaining photos.
When I asked Ronald Laud if he would end up buying other Klimts for Neue shopie, he told me, "maybe.
Back in the United States, the celebrations of scho Berg and the Altman family were destroyed by the United Nations.
Sad to expect
One of Maria's greatest champions is no longer there to share her wins and pass on the latest gossip.
A few weeks ago, Hubertus Czernin died in a long fight against cancer at the age of 50.
Maria Altman and her two teenage grandchildren came to Vienna for a holiday, too late to see him.
His monument may be that many Austrians will eventually accept the denial of the past for half a century.