Woman in Gold

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Project by madburg posted 08-15-2016 03:37 AM 1863 views 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Woman in Gold

This is the second Gustave Klimt painting that I have used to decorate a box.

The picture called Woman in Gold is of Adele Bloch-Bauer and was painted by Klimt in 1907, and is widely regarded as a masterpiece.

In 2007 it was sold in New York for a record US$135 million. The highest sum ever paid for a painting.

The painting along with four other Klimt paintings had been owned by the Bloch-Bauer family when they were seized by the Nazis during WWII. For years the picture had been the subject of a restitution battle between Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, and niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, and the Austrian government who had ‘recovered’ the paintings after WWII.

The story of this legal battle between Maria Altmann and the Austrian government, was made into the film ‘Woman in Gold’ staring Helen Mirren.

Enough history ........

I have made quite a few boxes over the years that include a musical movement, but I have never made a ‘full blown’ music box. My idea with this box was to tray and amplify the sound of the musical movement as much as possible without resorting to electronics.

Essentially the box is of very simple construction with a sit-on-top lid. It encloses a lot of empty space, with four separate sound boards, one of which incorporates a ‘dobro’ guitar (cigar box guitar) resonator cone. All the sound boards use guitar quality spruce and are inter-connected and tensioned with carbon fibre rods, similar to a violins sound bar, to help transmit the sound from one board to the next.

The space in the bottom of the box, behind the sound grill also has a stepped baffle board to enhance different resonances.

The box uses a 72 note Sankyo movement that plays 3 sequential excerpts from Bach’s “Bradenburg Concerto”.

The interior of the box does has three small lift out trays with compartments underneath – quite simple compared to my last box – ‘Klimt on a Box’.

The one off marquetry on the lid uses laminated shell sheet for her main dress, with inlays of gold leaf, and coloured veneer. The central part of the dress is from coloured veneers. Her jewellery is made up from twisted brass wire in various combinations, some gold flakes, and her neck collar has four nose stud ‘jewels’.

The back of the seat has a combination of micro mosaic marquetry, a range of different shell ‘dots’, brass drop earrings, small oyster veneers, and some other brass jewellery findings.

Having made the box I didn’t like the fact that with the lid hinged and open in the usual way the ‘Woman in Gold’ wouldn’t be seen. So I worked out a secondary hinge mechanism, incorporating some rare-earth magnets, that enables the lid to fold back on its self so displaying the marquetry.

Thanks for looking – hope you like her!!

-- Madburg WA

15 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8452 posts in 3401 days

#1 posted 08-15-2016 03:57 AM

That’s a very busy piece Martin. Lots of interesting things going on and all very well researched and executed.
This piece must be even more impressive in person.
...... but it is plenty impressive just as it is here.
Well done!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View WhattheChuck's profile


372 posts in 4164 days

#2 posted 08-15-2016 04:00 AM


-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3446 days

#3 posted 08-15-2016 04:58 AM

You have taken the music box to new heights. The intricate picture that you have integrated into this box is the crowning touch.

I’ve had ideas for a box but never this complex!

Well done!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View madburg's profile


248 posts in 1446 days

#4 posted 08-15-2016 05:17 AM

Thanks Paul, thanks Doc. The complexity is out of sight on this one but was still fun to design.

-- Madburg WA

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1102 posts in 2916 days

#5 posted 08-15-2016 08:00 AM

Stunning piece of work Martin. Can you explain a bit more about the hinge mechanism?

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View becikeja's profile


1045 posts in 3416 days

#6 posted 08-15-2016 11:49 AM

WOW – That’s it, just WOW

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4822 days

#7 posted 08-15-2016 12:08 PM

That top is incredible!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View leafherder's profile


1889 posts in 2555 days

#8 posted 08-15-2016 06:50 PM

Beautiful! I have always admired Klimt’s art and you have found a way to bring it to a whole new audience. Thanks for posting.

-- Leafherder

View DerekJ's profile


120 posts in 1491 days

#9 posted 08-15-2016 08:54 PM

Wow that looks amazing…. you’re truly an artist!

-- Derek ~ Omaha, NE

View tinnman65's profile


1395 posts in 4017 days

#10 posted 08-15-2016 11:20 PM

Beautiful piece.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View madburg's profile


248 posts in 1446 days

#11 posted 08-16-2016 03:22 AM

A bit more on the top hinge mechanism for Jim.

The lid is attached to a two piece sub-frame, which is joined together using a barrel hinge at both sides.

This enables the sub frame to fold back on itself. The rear portion of this sub-frame is then hinged to the main box in the normal way with Hawthone’s Neat hinges. Only the front portion of the sub frame is actually glued to the lid. The rear part of the sub-frame is held against the rear of the lid by a rare earth magnets.

One in each arm of the sub-frame which are attracted to magnets embedded in the lid. Which you can see above. So with the magnets attracted the whole lid opens and closes as it would normally. The magnets are around 10mm diameter so their holding power is quite substantial.

However, ‘break’ the magnets attraction and the sub frame can now fold down onto its self, so that the top of the lid is visible. Quite a neat idea I thought!!

-- Madburg WA

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3446 days

#12 posted 08-16-2016 06:46 AM

Yer waaay too complicated. LOL! ( for me)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1102 posts in 2916 days

#13 posted 08-16-2016 08:10 AM

Thanks Martin. That is a really neat idea.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View JPJ's profile


819 posts in 3223 days

#14 posted 08-17-2016 02:33 AM

Nice job!

View Woodbridge's profile


3710 posts in 3021 days

#15 posted 08-17-2016 02:49 AM

That looks like a quite a challenging painting to recreate in marquetry and you have done a great job.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

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