Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900–1918
This exhibition examines the Klimt's sensual portraits of women as the embodiment of fin-de-siècle Vienna. The show is organized by Klimt scholar Dr. Tobias G. Natter, author of numerous publications about Gustav Klimt and the art of Vienna 1900, including the indispensable catalogue raisonnée of Klimt’s paintings, published in 2012. The Neue Galerie is the sole venue for the exhibition, which will be on view through January 16, 2017.
The exhibition includes approximately 12 paintings, 40 drawings, 40 works of decorative art, and vintage photographs of Klimt, drawn from public and private collections worldwide. Central to the exhibition will be the display of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912), which are shown side-by-side for the first time since 2006. Adele Bloch-Bauer was an important Klimt patron and notably, the only subject the artist ever painted twice in full length.
Highlights of the show include some of Klimt’s most important society portraits: Portrait of Szerena Lederer (1899), which portrays the woman who built up the most important Klimt collection of her era; Portrait of Gertha Loew (1902); Portrait of Mäda Primavesi (1912); Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer (1914-16), daughter of Szerena Lederer; and the unfinished Portrait of Ria Munk III (1917). These major works cover the gamut of Klimt’s portrait style, from his early ethereal works influenced by Symbolism and the Pre-Raphaelite movement, to his so-called "golden style," as well as his almost Fauvist depictions.
The influence of fashion design among society women in fin-de-siècle Vienna also plays a key role in the installation. Shanghai-based artist and designer Han Feng was commissioned to create three one-of-a-kind fashion ensembles inspired by prevailing styles of artistic reform dress and the designs of Emilie Flöge, an important Viennese fashion designer and Klimt’s muse. Special hats and style accessories by paper artist Brett McCormack also adorn full-scale mannequins located throughout the show.
Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) was a central figure in the cultural life of Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century, and provided a crucial link between nineteenth-century Symbolism and the beginning of Modernism. Klimt’s iconic Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), on permanent display at the Neue Galerie, is accompanied by a significant group of preparatory drawings for the painting, which he created beginning in 1903. The show includes a unique historical reproduction (1951) of the mid-sixth century mosaic of Empress Theodora from the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, which provided Klimt with an important point of inspiration for the first portrait of his patron Adele Bloch-Bauer.
A fully-illustrated catalogue, published by Prestel Verlag, accompanies the exhibition featuring contributions by leading scholars in the field, including Marian Bisanz-Prakken, Emily Braun, Carl Kraus, Jill Lloyd, Tobias G. Natter, Ernst Ploil, Elisabeth Schmuttermeier, Janis Staggs, Angela Völker, and Christian Witt-Dörring.
This exhibition is made possible in part by the Neue Galerie President’s Circle.