100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

This is the first painting I spent any significant amount of time on--I think around 5 hours, which at that time was a LOT. Now, 5 hours seems incredibly quick. But I enjoyed going (relatively) deep and putting in all that background decoration, really seeing and understanding each shape there instead of merely being dazzled by the overall effect. I think that's when I first experienced the meditative side of my drawing process. Turns out that sinking into details like that helps to soothe my brain.

This painting has a complicated history of ownership involving Nazi theft, the U.S. Supreme Court, and Estée Lauder. There's a pretty good summary on Wikipedia (and apparently 3 documentaries and 2 books). Anyway, it ended up in the Neue Galerie, near the Met in NYC, where I am happy to say I have seen this in person. It's stunning.

If you want more Klimt, I really enjoyed this lecture, Historicism to Art Nouveau: Klimt and Ornament on the Museum of Fine Arts Boston's YouTube channel.

Reference image from Wikipedia. This painting is now in the Neue Gallerie in New York.

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