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Neue Galerie Gears Up for Gustav Klimt's 150th Birthday with Gold Leaf Cake

By Amy Zimmer | April 3, 2012 2:44pm
Klimt Cake is made with chocolate and hazelnut and has a drop of gold leaf, in honor of the famed Viennese painter.
Klimt Cake is made with chocolate and hazelnut and has a drop of gold leaf, in honor of the famed Viennese painter.
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Neue Galerie

MANHATTAN — Gustav Klimt's famously shimmering paintings will have competition from a luxurious gold-leaf cake offered as the Neue Galerie marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of the iconic Viennese artist.

The museum's upscale restaurant, Café Sabarsky, will create a special "Klimt cake," made with chocolate and hazelnut and topped with gold leaf, as the Upper East Side museum joins several museums in Vienna to honor Klimt throughout 2012.

The Neue Galerie's "Gustav Klimt: 150th Anniversary Celebration," on view from May 24 through Aug. 27, will feature major paintings as well as a number of rare and never-before-seen photographs of the artist and his close companion, the fashion designer Emilie Flöge.

After taking in the artwork, visitors can top off the experience with cake emblazoned with gold leaf that's reminiscent of the gold in Klimt's 1907 painting "Adele Bloch-Bauer I." Ronald Lauder bought the famed painting for the Neue Galerie in 2006, for $135 million, a record price at the time.

"It is called the Klimt cake as a tribute to the great painter and this work," a spokeswoman for the café wrote in an email. "I don't believe he ever ate it, but different versions of the Klimt Torte can be found all over Austria in order to honor him."

Café Sabarsky's chef Kurt Gutenbrunner is a huge Klimt fan and the cake has been on the menu in the past, the spokeswoman said. But the restaurant is now promoting the cake, which will sell for $9, as a birthday celebration of the painter, who was born near Vienna July 14, 1862.

The museum's curators weren't sure what kind of cake Klimt actually preferred.

"Klimt didn't write very much about himself," a museum spokeswoman said.

Painting that will be on view for the Neue Galerie's show include "Pale Face" from 1903, "The Black Feather Hat from 1910, "Forest Slope in Unterach on the Attersee" from 1916 and, of course, "Adele Bloch-Bauer I," among others.

A number of drawings will also be included, including a group of studies from two controversial projects that inspired Klimt to later shun government projects and then focus on mostly private commissions of Viennese society women.