Author of 'The Lady in Gold' to speak at Purdue

March 20, 2013  

Anne-Marie O'Connor

Anne-Marie O'Connor
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The author of "The Lady in Gold" will speak at Purdue University on April 4 about her book, which chronicles a masterpiece painting, its theft by wartime Nazis, and the legal battle to restore the stolen art to rightful heirs.

Anne-Marie O'Connor, a former reporter with The Los Angeles Times, is the author of "The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." She will be interviewed by George Lewis, former national correspondent for NBC News.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is 6-7 p.m. in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. It is organized by Project Impact and presented in partnership with the Tippecanoe Arts Federation and Jewish Studies Program. There will be a reception from 5-5:45 p.m. in the Stewart Center Gallery.

O'Connor's book explores the artistic and intellectual society in turn-of-the-century Vienna, the life of artist Gustav Klimt and his portrait models, including his celebrated muse Adele Bloch-Bauer, and world-changing events that led to the struggle over the painting. Under Adolf Hitler, works by Klimt and other artists were stolen from Jewish owners. One of the biggest prizes, "The Lady in Gold," was returned to its rightful heir, Maria Altmann, a niece of Bloch-Bauer residing in Los Angeles, after a long legal battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the way cleared by the American high court, an Austrian arbitration panel awarded "The Lady in Gold" and four other Klimt works to Altmann and other family heirs in 2006, five years before Altmann's death at age 94, marking the largest single return of art stolen by the Nazis. "The Lady in Gold" sold for $135 million in 2006. The portrait's official name is "The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer," but the Nazis called it "The Lady in Gold" to hide that the subject was Jewish.

O'Connor is a veteran foreign correspondent and culture writer who has covered a variety of topics from post-Soviet Cuba to American artists and intellectuals. She currently writes for the Washington Post from Mexico City. More information about the author is available at

George Lewis

George Lewis
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Lewis is the winner of three Emmys among other awards for his reporting. He retired from NBC News in January.

Project Impact, which launched its lecture series in 2010, is an experiential learning initiative in which students produce forums with historians, government officials, journalists, media executives and noted leaders in their fields of interest. Ambassador Carolyn Curiel, a clinical professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, former White House senior aide, U.S. ambassador, and journalist, is the founder and director of Project Impact.

Project Impact also has a final event this spring - Master Class With Brian Lamb - on April 11. The class is 9-10:15 a.m. Lawson Computer Science Building, Room 1142, with coffee and rolls served beginning at 8 a.m. The event is open to the public on a first-come basis.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources: Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, Project Impact graduate assistant,

Carolyn Curiel,

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