Adele Bloch-Bauer

A wealthy socialite and salon hostess in her day, Adele Bloch-Bauer became the center of an historic legal case when her niece demanded the return of her portrait, stolen by the Nazis. Bloch-Bauer was the daughter of banker Moritz Bauer and married the industrialist Ferdinand Bloch in 1899. Her Vienna salon boasted composers Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, as well as actors, socialists, and artists, including the legendary Gustav Klimt, who painted Bloch-Bauer as his “Woman in Gold.” Bloch-Bauer was also a dedicated philanthropist, supporting socialist causes and other charities, including the Viennese Public and Worker’s Library and the Society of Children’s Friends. An avid art collector, Bloch-Bauer requested in her will that her husband donate her various Klimt paintings to the Austrian National Gallery after his death. But the paintings were seized by the Nazis during the Anschluss, and her husband was unable to recover them after fleeing the country. In 2006, Bloch-Bauer’s niece, Maria Altmann, successfully recovered five Klimt paintings, including “Woman in Gold,” from the Austrian National Gallery, and sold “Woman in Gold” to the Neue Galerie for the record sum of $135 million.

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Adele Bloch-Bauer's Portrait, 1907 by Gustav Klimt, oil, silver and gold on canvas, 140 × 140 cm (55.1 × 55.1 in).

Courtesy of the Neue Gallery.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Adele Bloch-Bauer." (Viewed on April 17, 2021) <>.


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