One of two formal portraits that Gustav Klimt made of Adele Bloch-Bauer, an important patron of the artist, is now on view at MoMA as a special long-term loan from a private collection. Adele Bloch-Bauer was the wife of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a wealthy industrialist in Vienna, where Klimt lived and worked. Completed in 1912, the composition emphasizes Bloch-Bauer’s social station within Vienna’s cultural elite. Her towering figure, in opulent dress, is set against a jewel-toned backdrop of nearly abstract patterned blocks that suggest a richly decorated domestic interior. In 1938, the Nazis took possession of this portrait along with other works of art in the Bloch-Bauer family’s collection (including Adele Bloch-Bauer I, now in the collection of the Neue Galerie, New York).
Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862–1918). Adele Bloch-Bauer II. 1912. Oil on canvas. Private collection. © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar
In 2006, after years of legal negotiations, the works were returned to the Bloch-Bauer heirs and subsequently sold to other collections.Adele Bloch-Bauer II is joined by a selection of works from the Museum’s collection, including paintings, drawings, and objects by Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and others.