Part of Christie’s Presale Installation of the Bloch-Bauer Klimts and the Neue Galerie Schieles
In case there was any doubt about the connection between the four Bloch-Bauer Klimts and the Neue Galerie’s three Schieles, Christie’s has installed them facing each other at its presale exhibition, which opened today. They’ve been given their own room, its walls embellished with gilt trim, evocative of the Neue Galerie’s famous golden portrait of you-know-who. The Schieles are being sold by the Neue Galerie to help fund its purchase of the fifth restituted Bloch-Bauer Klimt, “Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (1907).
Schiele’s raunchy females make strange companions for the elegant “Adele Bloch-Bauer II.” But the Klimts look better than ever, now that they are not outshown by his more dazzling masterpiece. The Schieles’ ownership, omitted from the catalogue, is now labeled for all to see: “Property from the Collection of the Neue Galerie.”
Interestingly, Sotheby’s has its own Adele up for sale next week—probably no mere coincidence, given the market’s intensified interest in Klimt and his muse. The Nov. 8 afternoon sale (followed close upon by Christie’s Klimt-laden Impressionist/Modern evening sale) includes a 1903 drawing that is similar to one displayed in the Neue Galerie. It belongs to the series of studies for the (reportedly) $135-million painting. This pencil Adele comes relatively cheap—estimated at $80,000 to $120,000, compared to $40-60 million for “Adele Bloch-Bauer II” (1912).