"The Lady in Gold" --- A Modern Painting at the Crossroads of History, Beauty, Wealth, and Mystery

Mar 1, 2012

[Also aired on Wednesday, February 29th. We ran two StudioTulsa shows for Leap Day....] On today's ST, we hear from Anne-Marie O’Connor, a writer for The Washington Post (and formerly The Los Angeles Times), who tells us about her fascinating, hard-to-put-down new work of nonfiction, "The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." This engaging story --- part history, part fairy-tale, part suspense yarn --- gives readers the biography, so to speak, of Klimt’s famous rendering of Adele Bloch-Bauer, one of the most emblematic society portraits of its time; of the beautiful, seductive Viennese Jewish salon hostess who sat for it; of the notorious artist who painted it; of the now-vanished Vienna that shaped it; and of the strange twists of fate that befell it (which included being seized by the Nazis). Widely seen as a masterpiece --- and clearly one of the 20th century’s most recognizable paintings --- this work made headlines when it was purchased for $135 million approximately one century after Klimt completed it. Now comes a book that's worthy of so rich and varied a narrative.... As a starred review in Booklist put it: "Writing with a novelist's dynamism, O'Connor resurrects fascinating individuals and tells a many-faceted, intensely affecting, and profoundly revelatory tale of the inciting power of art and the unending need for justice."