Out & About
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The Neue Galerie New York invited the press corps yesterday to see the world’s most expensive painting — that is, Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (1907) — purchased in June for a reported $135 million, with backing from its chairman, financier Ronald Lauder.
The painting is being presented with four other paintings that have recently returned to the Bloch-Bauer family. In 1938, the Nazis seized the family’s estate. The family, led by Adele Bloch-Bauer’s niece, Maria Altmann, won a seven-year legal battle to have them returned. And so the focus of the hour was not the dollar amounts exchanged but rather the righting of history’s wrongs.
“I’m glad restitution finally brought these paintings back to where they belong,” Mr. Lauder said. “These paintings were perhaps the last prisoners of World War II, and it is my belief many more will be restituted to its owners,” Mr. Lauder said.
He recalled his personal history with the just-purchased painting. “This is a painting I first saw as a teenager when I came to Vienna,” he said. “It’s a painting I would always come to see, because it personifies Vienna at the turn of the century. It captures a special moment — it was a time of great change in the arts, in literature, and music.”
Mr. Lauder introduced Ms. Altmann, who is 92. “I’m so happy that the pictures are here now with you,” Ms. Altmann said. “Everybody can see them and come here.”
Of her relationship with her aunt, Ms. Altmann said, “I was too young to really get to know her.” She remembers her aunt’s house being filled with intellectuals, artists, and composers. “I was stupid at the time,” she said. (She could give herself the benefit of the doubt: She was only eight years old.)
While the reporters gathered were interested in the story, they were also eager to spend some time with the paintings. “This is probably the nicest room I’ve ever seen for a press conference,” Mr. Lauder said. But it was even nicer once the chairs had been cleared and one could view the paintings without bumping into a camera crew.
The playtime mecca for New York children, Kidville, yesterday welcomed more than 3,500 children during an open call for models from the agency Wilhelmina Kids & Teens.
Some came for laughs. Others had stars in their eyes. The contest drew Kidville regulars with Fifth Avenue apartments and second homes in the Hamptons, as well as working-class families from the five boroughs and beyond.
The payoff varies highly, said the president of the agency, Marlene Wallach, who has written a guide for parents, “Just Ask Marlene: The Inside Story About Modeling for Kids, Teens & Their Parents.” “It goes from $75 an hour to six figures,” she said.
Kidville, by the way, buzzed with activity. Jennifer Rosenblum, whose children consider the place a second home, dressed her family in white for the Wilhelmina interview, then headed upstairs to the salon where the children got haircuts.
The big thing at Kidville right now is the summer camp sessions, which even accommodate children under the age of three. I was disappointed to miss the morning cooking class, which featured lessons on making quiche and crepes. I was glad, however, to learn there are still a few sessions left of the specialty five-day Fairy Princess camp, in which participants dress up as a different Fairy Princess each day — Cinderella, Snow White, etc. The day includes salon visits so girls ages 3 to 5 can get the appropriate updo (Cinderella) or bob (Snow White). Now with that kind of treatment, what little girl needs to be a model?