July 20, 2016

Southwest Book Club Meets July 26

ladyingold.jpg Join the Southwest Book Club to discuss this month's selection, The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O'Connor. The story of Gustav Klimt's 1907 masterpiece-the portrait of a Viennese Jewish socialite, Adele Bloch-Bauer. Stolen by Nazis during World War II, it subsequently became the subject of a decade-long dispute between her heirs and the Austrian government; ending up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. No registration needed. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Southwest Branch Library
Tuesday, July 26
7:00 p.m.

If you are unable to attend the meeting and you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Many reviewers make reference to the wealth of detail the author included in the book. Did you find the details superfluous or distracting? Or did the details enrich and deepen the story for you?

2. The second third of O'Connor's book covers the Nazi takeover of Austria. O'Connor places this chapter immediately after her chapter on the glory of the Viennese Belle Epoque. What effect does this juxtaposition have on your reading?

3. How do you view the Austria's stance regarding the stolen artworks held in their possession well after the end of World War II? The museum claimed the paintings were part of their national heritage. Was there any validity in that claim or was it simply self-serving?

4. What made Maria Altmann and Randol Schoenberg such a good team? What attributes did each of them bring to the partnership.

5. A Wall Street Journal review of The Lady in Gold presents an ethical conundrum regarding the return of Nazi-pilfered art, an issue not considered by the book's author. As a result of outsized bidding for the five Klimt paintings, the public has lost access to all but one--Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, now in New York. In an inflationary art market, public museums cannot compete with the wealth of individual buyers; as a result, paintings of historical significance are now held by private collectors outside the public domain. Is there middle ground, on which both heirs and museums could land, that would foster both fair restitution and public access to important works of art?

Discussion questions obtained at litlovers.com