Monday, November 28, 2016

EXHIBITIONS: Neue Galerie NY presents must-see show: "Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918"

There's no doubt that artist Gustav Klimt was enchanted by the ladies,
especially those of Vienna’s Golden Age. There he held court over the city's 
art world and its society matrons, like a sovereign over his personal dominion.

Photo c. 1917

Neue Galerie NY is currently showcasing numerous works from
the period of Klimt's ascendancy in an exhibition that includes approximately
12 paintings, 40 drawings, 40 works of decorative art (jewelry and furniture,

some designed by other Wiener Werkstätte artists such as 
Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser), and vintage photographs of the artist, 
drawn from public and private collections worldwide.

These 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."
                                                                         ...  Curator's note

Portrait of Ria Munk III, 1917 (unfinished)

See Christie's website for a detailed
description of this fascinating woman and the
story of her radiant portrait.

°     °     °     °     °     °     °      °
The paintings in the current Neue Galerie NY show, according to art historian 
Jill Lloyd, represent "chic, modern women who belong to a world of 
elegance and luxury, they also have the effect of exoticizing and 
etherealizing their subjects." As Lloyd observes in her catalog essay, 
"They seem both women of their time and timeless symbols of 
femininity, at once contemporary and archaic."

Below: Portrait of Szerena Lederer, 1899
Szerena Pulitzer Lederer was known in her youth as a great beauty,
and later in life as a fine art collector and Grande Dame of Viennese society. 
She was born into a wealthy Jewish family, much like many of the 
patrons of Klimt's art. Klimt and Szerena were rumored to be lovers, 
with a daughter Elizabeth who was the product of their union.

The Lederer collection was confiscated from Szerena in 1940 and she fled to Budapest, 
where she died three years later. The Gestapo transferred the collection to 
Immerdorf Castle, subsequently setting it on fire in May, 1945 
so that it would not fall into the hands of the Allies. 
The collection was destroyed.

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907
Ah, the glorious Golden Adele. She is probably the best known
and most loved of Klimt's portraits. Ronald Lauder,
founder of the Neue Galerie, was instrumental in the
return of this painting from the government
of Austria to Adele's niece Maria Altmann, its rightful owner.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912
This portrait of Adele was done five years later than #1.
It appears that by this time, their love affair had cooled,
but their friendship endured.
 She was the only model to be painted twice by Klimt.

°     °     °      °      °      °      °      °

Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1912

Miss Primavesi, an assertive, spirited girl, is depicted here at the age of nine.
Klimt did numerous preliminary sktches for the portrait, wanting to perfect 
his subject's attitudinal pose and the delightful background motifs.
Mäda's parents, Otto and Eugenia, were sophisticated
members of fin-de-siecle Vienna society, and ardent supporters of 
progressive Viennese art and design.

Above: Portrait of Gertha Loew, 1902

"The beautiful girl swathed in white gossamer was Gertrud Loew, the 
19-year-old daughter of Anton Loew, a celebrated physician who ran a
 private sanatorium beside his palatial home in Vienna, 
where his patients included composer Gustav Mahler 
and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein."
                                                                                                 ... The Guardian, June 2015 
When first exhibited in 1903, the portrait was described by one critic as 
"the most sweet scented poetry the palette is able to create.”

Like nearly all of these singular Klimt portraits, this one was
looted by the Nazis and only recently returned to its rightful owners. 

Above: Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer, 1914

"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 has been 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."
                                                                                                                    ... Curator's note

Visit the Neue Galerie NY's website for more information.This show runs through January 16, 2017.


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