Time ran this article about the recently purchased Klimt painting, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. They are calling the painting the "Golden Adele." Though I do like the painting - it is certainly beautiful - I am very suspicious.
Let me explain. In June, the painting was purchased by the New York based Neue Galerie for $135 million. It has been since eclipsed by two modernist paintings, one by Jackson Pollock and one by Willem de Kooning, as the most expensive sale in visual arts history. That's right, one early European modernist followed by two giants of the New York School. In New York. Over $400 million in one year alone.
I certainly do not disaprove of the decisively culturally-minded investment of capital. Nor do I completely disagree with the institution of the museum as an idea. I simply hope that the museum does not become such an institution that its financial girth comes to rival that of, say, the defense budget of the United States. We hope for living art spaces, not over-priced hospitals for dying cultural artifacts.
Atleast, at 4 1/2 feet square, we can appreciate that the painting is bigger than the rather tiny (and in my opinion, horribly uninteresting) Mona Lisa. Although I do prefer the Portrait of Adele to the Mona Lisa, it is only a very minor compliment. Is "Too Much Being Made On Nazi Art?" I think so.
List of Most Expensive Paintings