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Chapter 33 Part 1 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

To the Upper Class Society (5)

A painting long lost its name.

Austria, occupied by the Nazis during World War II after the lady's death in 1938.

The Nazis looted numerous artworks in Austria, and the Bauer family, having fled to Switzerland to escape Jewish persecution, had their estate and many artworks confiscated.

This portrait was also one of the works seized by the Nazis.

A privately owned portrait, the government of Austria took possession of it after the war, not knowing who it belonged to or who was depicted in it. The lady's granddaughter eventually reclaimed it after a lengthy lawsuit. It is now displayed in the Neue Gallery in the United States.

Until the lawsuit by the granddaughter, the painting had two names.

"Austrian Venus and Woman in gold."

The name given to her beautiful portrait, the Austrian Venus.

Of course, the real lady was not as beautiful as in the painting.

Her captivating eyes, seducing onlookers in a space surrounded by luxurious gold, were reimagined by Klimt.

Mrs. Bauer, adjusting her dress with her left hand, asked,

"Did my husband donate this month too?"

Upon hearing about the donation, Klimt placed his pencil in his notebook and nodded,

"It's been ten years now. Your husband's contributions have been a great help."

Mrs. Bauer, looking out the window at the garden, said,

"My husband has always been like that. When I first met him in our youth, he had nothing."

She covered her mouth with her left hand and laughed,

"He would spend his daily wages, earned from working in a sugar factory, on supporting his favorite painters, leading to some serious arguments."

Klimt smiled and picked up his pencil again,

"Thanks to him, many Austrian artists have been able to continue their artistic activities. Many are grateful to your husband."

As he resumed sketching, he continued,

"Nietzsche said, 'Art is a great stimulant to life.' Your husband understood that early on, which is why he is still thriving in his business."

Mrs. Bauer smiled in response,

"Yes, there were times I found my husband suffocating and didn't understand his views and attitudes. Yet, I loved him for that. Despite my anger, his pure heart always made me smile."

"Ha, is that so?"

Mrs. Bauer, reminiscing about her and her husband's youth, looked intently at Klimt sketching and said,

"To me, you and my husband's younger days don't seem different, Mr. Klimt."

"Ah? In what way?"

Mrs. Bauer scrutinized Klimt and said,

"I thought artists were either lonely geniuses touched with madness or people working in solitude. But you shatter all my prejudices. You meet and socialize with many people. At first glance, you seem more like a socialite or businessman than an artist."

Really? Is that so?

It's a new perspective to me.

Naturally, since there isn't much known about Klimt's personal life.

With little known, I thought of him as a solitary artist shrouded in mystery.

Klimt sketched her face with a grin,

"Isn't that obvious?"

"What do you mean?"

"Your husband is also in finance, right?"

"Yes, that's right."

"Actually, the real moneymaker is finance, not the sugar business. Right?"


Klimt continued as he sketched,

"Your husband attends social clubs and meets many people. He's not just going out to have fun, is he?"

"Right, there's a lot of business information exchanged there."

"Exactly. Who's starting a new business, what difficulties they're facing, or if a promising product is failing due to lack of funding. Your husband hears about these and invests in worthy opportunities."

"That's true."

Putting down his pencil and closing his notebook with a smile, Klimt said,

"Artists are the same. We constantly interact with many people and overcome numerous obstacles. We analyze and work hard to refine our style and direction to be more loved. It's not much different from what your husband does."

Mrs. Bauer nods with a look of realization.

"Indeed, that's why you're known among so many people."

Klimt puts his notebook in his bag, stands up, and says,

"To survive among many artists, one must be an outstanding planner and strategist. Let's call it a day for now. I will come back at the same time tomorrow."

Mrs. Bauer looks a bit disappointed but nods in agreement.

"So, we'll meet again tomorrow?"

"Of course, Mrs. Bauer. I'll be coming every day until the painting is complete. Farewell for now."

Klimt picks up his bag, nods, and leaves the mansion.

I emerge hesitantly from behind the curtain into the living room. Mrs. Bauer, left alone, doesn't seem to notice me, suggesting that in this dream, I'm invisible to others.

I was about to follow Klimt but stopped upon seeing Mrs. Bauer sneakily raise her right hand, which she had been hiding.

Her right middle finger, visible only when she's alone, is severely deformed.

She lost confidence due to a disability from a childhood accident. Despite her increased social standing due to her husband's successful business, she remained hidden from public view because of her disability. I hear her murmur,

"Maybe if it were you, Klimt."

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