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City to learn true story of ‘Woman in Gold’

SANTA FE, N.M. — A screening of the movie “Woman in Gold,” along with a Q&A with the son of the main character’s real-life inspiration, will kick off Santa Fe’s annual Edible Art Tour weekend.

“Woman in Gold,” a 2015 film starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, is based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a Jewish woman who took on and won a years-long battle against the Austrian government to regain ownership of a Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer. Nazis stole the painting prior to World War II. The Lensic Performing Arts Center will show the film on Thursday, June 8.

“Our chances of winning were negligible,” said Peter Altmann, Maria’s son and Bloch-Bauer’s great-nephew who will be at the Lensic.

“We didn’t think anything would happen. My mother did it only for justice.”

Peter Altmann will give the audience additional insight into his family’s story, which he described as a “below David and Goliath” fight, and answer audience questions following the movie.

Like the Edible Art Tour (EAT), proceeds from the event go to ARTsmart, a nonprofit that provides arts-based programs and services for Northern New Mexico children.

Altmann said he volunteered to speak to because he wanted to support the cause and come to a city that respects art.

“Art is what frees the human spirit, and Santa Fe knows that,” he said.

“Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” by Gustav Klimt.

Tori Brown, ARTsmart’s fundraising coordinator and event co-chair, said Altmann’s talks rely heavily on the audience’s questions and interests. According to Altmann, questions often vary from how the story is still topical today because of the continuing stories of refugees in the Middle East, historical elements of the painting and his mother’s quest to retrieve it, as well as the painting’s sale for $135 million. The painting is now on display in New York’s Neue Galerie.

“[People should] be prepared to have a full-on conversation, not just a lecture,” said Brown.

A friend of Altmann, Brown’s mother and also co-chair of the event, Corky Brown, said she asked him to speak as a way to raise funds for the organization and allow Santa Fe to hear his compelling story.

“It’s a story that needs to continually be told,” said Corky.

Guests can sip on the evening’s signature “Golden Lady” drink and take photos with a tableau vivant-style model dressed as Bloch-Bauer as she was depicted in Klimt’s famous painting, said Brown.

“Woman in Gold”-inspired merchandise will also be available, including greeting cards made by the ARTsmart students and custom-boxed chocolates from Cacao Santa Fe. Cacao Santa Fe is also scheduled to take part in EAT, in which participants use their ticket to visit local galleries and are greeted with food from local restaurants, individual chefs or catering companies.

ARTsmart’s events continue downtown June 9, with the first evening of EAT at galleries around the Plaza and in downtown Santa Fe, and on June 10 on Canyon Road. Twenty-nine locations are currently listed as participants, along with the local restaurants that will serve up dishes at each gallery.