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The Representative and Economic Meaning Behind the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

The Portrait Adele Bloch-Bauer I was painted in almost entirely gold except for Adele's face. Its selling price, 134 million, is one of the highest in art history. The image is below:

The Portrait held a symbolism for economic wealth and prestige and was looked upon as a figure of eloquence and feminine beauty. In my perspective, I see this more as a symbol for the ever-increasing separation of the classes, with Adele Bloch-Bauer, standing on a higher part of the frame, representing the wealthy class with the lower class beneath her dress. Because this painting holds more value than the majority of what households would make in their lifetime, the message to me is not about a figure of eloquence and level, but a representative of unreachable desires of wealth and expectation.

To talk a little more about the history of this painting: Ferdinand, the owner of this painting, fled from Austria to America during the Nazi takeover of power during World War 2, where this painting was seized by the Nazis and displayed in a German museum. Later, after the war had ended, it was given over to the Austrian Government, who refused to return it to its original owners, the children/grandchildren of Ferdinand.

Because of this, in another sense this painting represents greed for wealth, which can be seen throughout the timeline of history: from the House of Burgesses to modern-day large companies dominating controls of markets, the power and money being passed around and held because of greed never ends. Although the painting itself may present the feminity of a beautiful woman Adele Bloch-Bauer, its true meaning to me is spoken behind the countless passing of the hands to wealthy people or organizations in the economy.

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