Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen Adele

" Adele Bloch-Bauer I" by Gustav Klimt
Adele is leaving Los Angeles for New York! The Gustav Klimt paintings that are currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are leaving soon. The most famous painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer will be on view through this Friday, June 30th. Larry and I went to see the five Klimt paintings last night. If you've been following the story of the paintings in the newspaper, you know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime show. Here's an excerpt from the LACMA site:
"When Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a Jew, fled Austria without the Klimt paintings. The new Nazi government saddled him with a punitive tax bill and engaged a Nazi trustee, Dr. Erich Führer, to sell his property. Three of the Klimt paintings went to the Austrian Gallery, and the others were sold elsewhere. After the war such transactions were deemed void, and the artworks were subject to restitution proceedings.
Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer spent most of the war in Switzerland and died in November 1945. When writing his last will he knew that many Austrians had supported Hitler and did not want the Klimt paintings to go to the Austrian Gallery. He therefore left his property to his niece, Maria Altmann, and two of her siblings.
Maria Altmann and the other heirs emigrated to North America. While they managed to export many works from the Bloch-Bauer collection, the Klimt paintings remained in Vienna. Austrian authorities ruled that the paintings belonged to the Austrian Gallery, basing their decision on Adele Bloch-Bauer’s 1923 will. Until the late 1990s the Bloch-Bauer heirs believed that there was little that they could do to recover the lost patrimony. In 1998 Austria passed a law that opened archives and facilitated restitution claims, and Maria Altmann learned more about the fate of the Bloch-Bauer Klimts. She engaged an attorney, E. Randol Schoenberg (himself from a prominent Viennese Jewish family), to recover the paintings. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in June 2004 that the heirs could sue the state of Austria in a U.S. court. Not wanting a lengthy legal process with appeals, Schoenberg, representing the 89-year-old Maria Altmann, entered into legally binding arbitration with the Austrian authorities.
In January 2006 an Austrian panel issued its verdict: of the six paintings in question, five belonged to the heirs. A decision about the remaining painting would come at a later date. Maria Altmann and the heirs could reclaim a part of their family’s history. Just as life has taken her from Vienna to Los Angeles, so too have the paintings followed this path."
The Klimt paintings have been on view at the Museum since April 4th. This is the first chance I've had to see them. The portraits of Maria Altmann's Aunt Adele are magnificent. The accompanying landscapes are lovely. I'm so glad that we made the effort to see this exhibit. The most famous gold painting of Adele was recently purchased by the heirs of cosmetics icon Estee Lauder. It will reside in the Neue Galerie, a small museum in New York City. Lauder's son, Ron paid $135 million for the painting.
After taking in a few more permanent galleries at LACMA, Larry and I walked over to Marie Callender's on the Miracle Mile (Wilshire) for dinner. Marie's is in what used to be called Prudential Square. It's now called Museum Square and houses the Screen Actors Guild, among other businesses. When Marie's was added to this structure, the front of this beautiful modern building, constructed in the 1950's, was changed forever. Although I do like this restaurant...the interior is great, the exterior just ruins the lines of this modern masterpiece. Above, left and below are photos of this building from the early 50's.You can see that Ohrbach's Department Store and Van de Kamp's Restaurant were in the section now occupied by Marie's, Baja Fresh and various other restaurants. I remember my Mom taking me there all the time when I was a kid....shopping at Ohrbach's and the May Company on Wilshire, then lunch at Van de Kamp's. It was a Saturday ritual.
Larry and I were both in the mood for Marie's chicken pot pie. It was delicious, full of chicken and vegies and piping hot. After dinner, we walked back to our car, parked on Wilshire and noticed this dentist's office on the Miracle Mile called the Miracle Smile!
We love L.A.

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4 Comments:

At 2:52 PM PDT, Anonymous Christine G. said...

Hey, this is the same evening Michael and I had on Friday night! Only we bailed on Marie Callendar's (it was too busy!!). We ended up at Koo Koo Roo.

Loved the gold Adele. Her face looked like a photograph, the painting was so precise and realistic...especially compared to the rest of the painting. So beautiful.

Thanks for the L.A. memories. I love to catch some of the old Dragnet shows, they did a lot of location filming; it's like a window into the past when you see the streets as they looked then. I remember a lot of these things, from family trips from our home in Arizona to visit our California cousins.

I'll stop my rambling now....
XO

 
At 10:21 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, remember times on the Miracle Mile as a child in the 60's. My Mom and Grandma used to take me to the luncheon/fashion shows at the May Co. Restaurant. It was very elegant. I remember the dining room being blue and white with beautiful Greek columns. There was an elevated runway down the center of the dining room for the models. My favorite dish was the shrimp cocktail with remulade dressing.

Judy
Bakersfield

 
At 11:18 AM PDT, Blogger Darcy said...

Oh, thanks for reminding me to hit LACMA before SnB today! My first job when I moved to LA was at Iver's Department Store in La Canada and the family sold it to Ohrbach's and it didn't last. It is probably a 99 cents store now. ;(

 
At 1:48 PM PDT, Blogger ladylinoleum said...

Klimt is one of my all time faves...

 

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