Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Lauder Covets the Four Other Klimts

To other reporters who asked Ronald Lauder if he wanted to acquire the four other Klimts from the Bloch-Bauer estate (on display July 13-Sept. 18, along with the Neue Galerie's newly acquired Adele Bloch-Bauer I), he said, "No comment."

But to CultureGrrl, he said:

We are contemplating these other paintings. Ideally, I would like to acquire all of them. It depends on what the heirs want to do.

You see, only CultureGrrl could win the confidence of the cosmetics magnate by schmoozing about our old Bronx High School of Science days. (After he heard my embarrassingly uncultured Bronx accent, he had asked me where I grew up. Luckily, Ron tawks the tawk!)

At today's press conference, he noted that the configuration of the five paintings in Adele Bloch-Bauer's Vienna bedroom "resembled very much what we have here today....I believe this is what [she] would have wanted for her art."

The problem with this ensemble is that gazing at the exquisite, iconic portrait is like looking directly at the sun: Your eyes are so dazzled that other perfectly fine paintings in the room look drab. Forget about what you've seen in reproductions, which can never give a sense of the sumptuous textures and patterned complexities of the Neue Galerie's "priceless" acquisition, said to have cost about $135 million. While you're there, don't miss (as many reporters did) the Neue Galerie's six preparatory drawings of Adele, on display in the adjoining room.

By the way Ron, CultureGrrl (née Flasterstein) was valedictorian of our mutual alma mater. Not too shabby for a humanities person in a school known for churning out Nobel Prize winners in science (including one from my own year)!

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