In 1900 Vienna was one of the most exciting places to live in the world. Its glamorous high society was the envy of Europe, and it was the centre of an exploding arts movement that set the tone for the following century.Tim Bonyhady's great-grandparents were leading patrons of the arts in fin de siecle Vienna: Gustav Klimt painted his great-grandmother's portrait, and the family knew many of Vienna's leading cultural figures. In Good Living Street he follows the lives of three generations of women in his family in an intimate account of fraught relationships, romance, and business highs and lows. They enjoyed a lifestyle of luxury and privilege-until everything changed for families of Jewish origin like his.In 1938, his family fled Vienna for a small flat in a harbourside suburb of Sydney, taking with them the best private collection of art and design to escape the Nazis.'Wonderful. A haunting saga of high art, hate and survival.' - David Marr'An enthralling family history beginning in an opulent apartment in Habsburg Vienna and ending in a flat in Cremorne, interwoven with the social, political and art history of the period.' - Patrick McCaughey
This disquieting family saga begins in early 20th-century Vienna and ends in Sydney, Australia, portraying through three generations of the author's family the patriotism, conservatism, and love of culture among Viennese Jewish haute bourgeoisie and their dispersal after the Nazi Anschluss in 1938. The section on the author's maternal great-grandparents, Moritz and Hermine Gallia, is the book's highlight. The Gallias, Jews who had converted to Catholicism, were patrons of Vienna's modern artists, including Gustav Klimt (who painted Hermine's portrait) and the art and design group Wiener Werkst tte. The descriptions of the early years of the Holocaust in Austria, as seen through the Gallias' eyes, are vivid, including daughter K the's arrest and interrogation by the Nazis (who knew of the family's Jewish origins). K the and her older sister, Gretl, eventually fled to Australia; Gretl's daughter Anne is the author's mother. Bonyhady, an art historian and environmental lawyer in Australia, sticks so closely to the family story that he stints on historical context (e.g., he writes, "the Australian Jewish Welfare Society was ambivalent about Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis," without further explanation). Still, Bonyhady's book does a real service by unearthing the story of a prominent Jewish family during Vienna's artistic flowering and the impact of WWII. 8 pages of color photos, b&w photos.