Gustav Klimt, ‘Portrait of Serena Lederer [Gustav Klimt An Aftermath]’, 1931, Jason Jacques Gallery

Plate # 6/30 The subject of this lovely portrait is of Serena Pulitzer Lederer. She was born in Budapest in 1867 into an affluent and well-educated Jewish family that included American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. In 1892 Serena married industrialist August Lederer. The couple had a daughter and two sons. They were ardent supporters of Gustav Klimt and devoted a special room in their Vienna apartment to their collection of his work. The 1899 portrait of Serena is said to have been a "prelude to their close emotional relationship." He also painted portraits of her mother, Charlotte Pulitzer, and daughter, Elisabeth (born 1894). According to speculation Klimt may have been Elisabeth's father. There is also the possibility that she claimed to be Klimt's daughter in order to be classified as half-Jewish in an attempt to escape persecution.

About Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt is best known for his opulently gilded art nouveau portraits of women that epitomize fin-de-siècle Vienna. His Symbolist pastiches of pale nudes, allegorical gardens and erotic content served as the basis for many American psychedelic poster designs in the 1960s. Early in his career, Klimt was supported generously by the Viennese community, and received several commissions for murals in theaters and the Museum Kunsthistorisches. Early narrative paintings depicted heavy subjects such as anxiety, doubt, sexuality, and death, but in later years, he turned toward landscape painting, exploring light and abstract patterns of nature. His most famous paintings are The Kiss (1907) and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907), which sold for a record auction price of more than 100 million dollars in 2006.

Austrian, 1862-1918, Baumgarten, Austria, based in Vienna, Austria