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Download The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimts Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, by Anne-Marie O'Connor Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (341 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anne-Marie O'Connor Narrator: Coleen Marlo Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Lady in Gold, considered an unforgettable masterpiece, one of the twentieth century’s most recognizable paintings, made headlines all over the world when Ronald Lauder bought it for $135 million a century after Klimt, the most famous Austrian painter of his time, completed the society portrait.

Anne-Marie O’Connor, writer for the Washington Post, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, tells the galvanizing story of The Lady in Gold, Adele Bloch-Bauer, a dazzling Viennese Jewish society figure; daughter of the head of one of the largest banks in the Hapsburg Empire, head of the Oriental Railway, whose Orient Express went from Berlin to Constantinople; wife of Ferdinand Bauer, sugar-beet baron.

The Bloch-Bauers were art patrons, and Adele herself was considered a rebel of fin de siècle Vienna (she wanted to be educated, a notion considered “degenerate” in a society that believed women being out in the world went against their “feminine nature”). The author describes how Adele inspired the portrait and how Klimt made more than a hundred sketches of her—simple pencil drawings on thin manila paper.

And O’Connor writes of Klimt himself, son of a failed gold engraver, shunned by arts bureaucrats, called an artistic heretic in his time, a genius in ours. She writes of the Nazis confiscating the portrait of Adele from the Bloch-Bauers’ grand palais; of the Austrian government putting the painting on display, stripping Adele’s Jewish surname from it so that no clues to her identity (nor any hint of her Jewish origins) would be revealed. Nazi officials called the painting “the Lady in Gold” and proudly exhibited it in Vienna’s Baroque Belvedere Palace, consecrated in the 1930s as a Nazi institution.

The author writes of the painting, inspired by the Byzantine mosaics Klimt had studied in Italy, with their exotic symbols and swirls, the subject an idol in a golden shrine. We see how, sixty years after it was stolen by the Nazis, the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer became the subject of a decade-long litigation between the Austrian government and the Bloch-Bauer heirs, how and why the US Supreme Court became involved in the case, and how the Court’s decision had profound ramifications in the art world.

In this book listeners will find riveting social history, an illuminating and haunting look at turn-of-the-century Vienna, a brilliant portrait of the evolution of a painter, a masterfully told tale of suspense. And at the heart of it, The Lady in Gold—the shimmering painting, and its equally irresistible subject, the fate of each forever intertwined.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ignites many a startling flash point in the moral history of our time—a taut, rich, tangy, and instructive read.”

    Frederic Morton, National Book Award–nominated author

  • “Gripping in details and drama.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Fascinating, ambitious, exhaustively researched…A mesmerizing tale of art and the Holocaust.”

    Washington Post

  • “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.”

    Booklist (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Pam | 2/15/2014

    " I looked forward to this book as part of the group of books such as 'In the Garden of the Beasts' and many of the very good historical books by Roger Crowley ...but Ms O'Connor is not the calibre of writer, I'm sorry to say and although the tale is fascinating...the reading was a bit of a dogged process. I'm glad I finished it and appreciate even more the portrait hanging in the Neue Gallerie AND the reconstruction of the Seccession House in Vienna w/ this background but, it could have been much much better to read. And w/ the less writing, it makes me wonder about the research...too bad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/7/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. It's taught me a lot while telling moving stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Beth | 2/6/2014

    " This is a fantastic book about old Vienna, stolen art, and the struggle to restore things stolen by the Nazis. Great story and history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Hank Stuever | 1/29/2014

    " Disclosure: Anne-Marie O'Connor is a friend of mine, but I have to just add a few words here to say how much I admire the way she's synthesized all this material into a gripping story of people, art, human nature (the worst kind), war, memory, recompense. There is something on every page that surprises -- the sort of facts and tangents that a more narrow account might have edited out, but that beautifully illuminate the larger story to be told here. You can tell this book was carefully written and that every sentence was thoughtfully considered, researched and arranged. The short-chapter organization and illustrations are a masterful way to usher the reader through a story that takes a century to play out. I don't read a lot of art history or true tales of museum shenanigans and lost treasures very much. But I have to say I was addicted to this one. "

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About the Author

Anne-Marie O’Connor attended Vassar College, studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a foreign correspondent for Reuters and a staff writer for theLos Angeles Times for twelve years and has written extensively on Gustav Klimt’s painting The Lady in Gold and the Bloch-Bauer family’s efforts to recover its art collection. Her articles have appeared in Esquire, the Nation, and the Christian Science Monitor. She currently writes for the Washington Post from Mexico City, where her husband, William Booth, is Post bureau chief.