November 05, 2006

The Saga of the Klimts - The Final Chapter

The on-going drama of the 5 Gustav Klimt paintings stolen from and recently restituted to the Bloch-Bauer Family of Vienna is coming to a conclusion. Readers of my blog ("Crazy for Klimt"), and indeed of any newspaper, are familiar with this story that sprang into the public eye this spring with the purchase of "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" by Ronald Lauder from the heirs of Adèle and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer for the staggering sum of $135 million. This summer, New Yorkers were treated to the once in a lifetime opportunity of seeing the 5 paintings reunited for the last time at the Neue Galerie before being put up for sale and dispersed to the far corners of the world.

Well, this Wednesday evening, November 8th, Christies Rockefeller Center, will be auctioning off the 4 remaining paintings. They are currently on view, in a specially decorated and heavily guarded gallery at the auction house and judging by the crowd on Sunday, there are a lot of interested parties. To be sure, many are like me, voyeurs intreagued by the story and drawn by a last chance to see these magnificent pictures together again, but there are a lot of wealthy art lovers in the world and the competition to possess a masterpiece will be intense. The combined estimate for the 4 works ranges from $93-$140 million. Stay tuned - I'll bring you the results on Thursday!

Above Left: "Birch Forest", 1903 Center: "Portrait of Adèle Bloch-Bauer II", 1912 Right: "Apple Tree I", 1912

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