Yesterday afternoon, I played hooky from the office and trundled off to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to view the five Gustav Klimt paintings taken from the Bloch-Bauer family by the Nazis and recently retrieved through diligent lawyering. (Previous posts on the Klimts: March 16 and April 7.)
Today is the last day to see the paintings in Los Angeles. Lines will likely be long: there was a 45-minute wait at around 4:00 p.m. yesterday. I overheard security staff reporting that the lines have been long throughout the paintings' display, and they can only have become longer in the past few weeks since the centerpiece of the room, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, became the world's most expensive painting when cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder purchased it -- for New York's Neue Galerie, where all five paintings will be going on display beginning July 13 -- for $135 Million. In any case, what's 45 minutes when you get to gaze on the face of eternity, eh?
While seeing the first portrait of Adele is the reason for most visitors' visit to the show, the other four paintings are also very fine. Adele Bloch-Bauer II, painted five years after A B-B I, gives an idea of what Matisse might have produced if he had painted Viennese society women instead of odalisques.
As a parting gift to Ms. Bloch-Bauer, this Fool is inspired to his first double-dactyl since last October:
Klimt's Adele Bloch-Bauer's
Blazoned with eyes from her
Thighs to her shoes:
Fräulein von Österreich,
Fin de sièclische
Bonus Artsy Applet: By way of Lifehacker, it's the Rijkswidget, available in Windows and Mac flavors, delivering each day a fresh work from the collections of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam to your desktop.