Vienna is declaring 2012 to be the year of Gustav Klimt. This summer marks the 150th anniversary of the birthday of the Austrian painter whose work later met a tragic fate under Nazi occupation.
Dozens of Gustav Klimt masterpieces were stolen from their owners under Hitler’s rule, and it wasn’t until nearly a half-century later that restitution demands began in order to return the works to their rightful heirs.
One such stolen work, “The Lady in Gold,” a 1907 gold-flecked portrait of Viennese society beauty Adele Bloch-Bauer, was eventually recovered and sold in 2006 to Ronald Lauder for an astounding $135 million.
"The Lady in Gold" is also the subject and title of Anne-Marie O’Connor’s newest book, which details the cultural history of Klimt’s Jewish models and patrons, and the masterpiece that spent decades hidden in Austria, and another decade to reclaim.