It's all Los Angeles imports all the time in New York City just now:
In addition to LA Opera's Grendel, New Yorkers this week also gain the opportunity to visit the Bloch-Bauer family Klimts: stolen by Nazis, held by the Austrian government, recovered for the family by intrepid lawyers, and last seen at LACMA.
At the New Criterion's ARMAVIRUMQUE weblog, writing of the glittering centerpiece of the group, James Panero opines that "[i]t is this story of ownership, rather than the value of Adele Bloch-Bauer I as a work of art itself, that is most apparent now" in the paintings' display at Ronald Lauder's Neue Galerie. Mr. Lauder recently arranged to purchase the painting for his Galerie for a walloping $135 Million, leaving the hopes and dreams of Los Angeles art lovers to blow away with the dust and palm fronds when next the Santa Ana winds pass through.
In addition to a skeptical subscriber-only (hence unlinked by me) piece in the New York Sun, Panero points back to Tyler Green's June 4 post at Modern Art Notes, suggesting that the true apex of this group is the 1903 Birch Woods (aka Beech Woods):
* * * As with Adele, reproductions don’t communicate the handsiness of the painting, the witty way Klimt built his autumn forest.
Beech Woods is more than just a landscape. Klimt painted it in 1903, when Matisse was on the cusp of fauvism and years before Picasso and Braque created cubism. During the next decade the flattening of perspectival space, the race to the picture plane, would drive the three Parisian trifecta (and an army of mimickers) to greater and greater paintings.
Klimt got pretty close in 1903. . . .
[Green has the distinct advantage over me of actually knowing what he's talking about when it comes to this sort of thing, and the description he provides of just how Klimt does what he does is terrific, especially worth reading if you are a New Yorker waiting in line to look at the thing itself. Do I earn any aesthetic points or credibility for having mentioned the Matissiness of the other, 1912 vintage portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer included in this group?]
For Extra Credit: In keeping with my New York theme, read some more Tyler Green as he reports today on the Metropolitan Museum's Secretive War on the Struggling Middle Class.