This major exhibition of Gustav Klimt's (1862–1918) idyllic depictions in the landscape genre will feature significant paintings made while the artist was on his Sommerfrische (summer holiday) in the Austrian countryside. "Klimt Landscapes" will present highlights from Neue Galerie New York's holdings, such as Park at Kammer Castle (1909) and Forester’s House in Weissenbach II (Garden) (1914), alongside important loans from museums and private collections in Europe and the United States, including works from the Harvard Art Museums, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Wien Museum. For the last twenty years of his career, Klimt devoted considerable energy to painting landscapes during his summer vacations on the Attersee in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, known for its tranquil lakes. Created purely for his own pleasure, these bucolic scenes became among his most sought-after pictures and were highly coveted by collectors. Most were made in a square format—a reflection of his fascination with photography.
This special exhibition will examine Klimt’s landscapes within the context of his larger oeuvre and trace the evolution of his style from one informed by historicism and the academic tradition, to an embrace of Symbolist tendencies. After the founding of the Vienna Secession in 1897, Klimt became a leading proponent of the modern movement. He spent a decade exploring the ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) and his approach evolved during this period to become more decorative and ornate, culminating in his Golden Style. Thereafter, he shifted to a more painterly manner of working in pure color and one influenced by French artists, in particular.
Klimt’s landscapes will be situated alongside the rare print portfolio, Das Werk Gustav Klimts, as well as photography, fashion, and the decorative arts of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops). The exhibition will also consider Klimt’s relationship with his sister-in-law, fashion designer Emilie Flöge, who was a lifelong friend and trusted confidante; his deep engagement with the Viennese avant-garde; and the techniques he employed to achieve mesmerizing, harmonious works that literally shimmer with color and light.
Neue Galerie New York is renowned for its resplendent Klimt Gallery, which permanently features works from all periods of the artist's career, including his 1907 Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I, a masterpiece of Klimt’s Golden Style. Few paintings have captured the public's imagination as thoroughly as the so-called “Woman in Gold,” and for this reason Klimt is most admired for his sensual portraits of women. Klimt was a central figure in the cultural life of Vienna at the fin de siècle, and this major show will situate his work in an interdisciplinary context to help yield new insights and understanding about his considerable artistic achievements and contributions.
This exhibition is curated by Janis Staggs, Director of Curatorial and Manager of Publications at Neue Galerie New York. At the Neue Galerie, Staggs has previously organized or co-organized "Ernst Ludwig Kirchner," "Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele: 1918 Centenary," "Wiener Werkstätte, 1903-1932: The Luxury of Beauty," "Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold," "Gustav Klimt: 150th Anniversary Celebration," and "Wiener Werkstätte Jewelry," among many others.
Gustav Klimt, Park at Kammer Castle, 1909, oil on canvas. Neue Galerie New York. This work is part of the collection of Estée Lauder and was made available through the generosity of Estée Lauder.