There are two portraits by Gustav Klimt—the most famous Vienna Secessionist, and the subject of a good film starring John Malkovich—on display at the Met Museum, in Gallery 829: Serena Pulitzer Lederer (1867-1943) and Mäda Primavesi (1903-2000).
But another, more famous, hangs in the Neue Galerie alone on permanent display, Adele Bauer Bloch I, the ‘woman in gold’. (The Neue is a showcase of Vienna Secessionists, especially Egon Schiele and drawings by him are regularly shown). The Neue has a good collection of erotic drawings by Klimt, Schiele, Kokoshka and others.
You can get quite close to her. She is smaller than I expected and at first I was disappointed that her gold did not glitter, but in time I saw through my disappointment (as one must) to see the influential woman who so mesmerized Klimt, and who himself so mesmerized the rest of Vienna. In fact, if you feel the need for some Klimt ‘mojo’, you can buy a beautiful replica robe just like the one he wore to work, in the tchotchke filled gift shop. It’s not cheap, but it is cool.
Mrs Altmann, Klimt’s niece, lived in Los Angeles when she won the right to sue the Austrian government in the USA for the Klimt pieces that had been stolen from her family by Nazis during WW2. She won. Through her friendship with Lauder, founder of the Neue Galerie, the portrait now hangs there on permanent exhibition. He paid $135 million dollars so that you can now go see her.