His highly contested, allegorical Faculty Paintings, which were destroyed during the last days of war in 1945, were seen as a paradigm shift and a credo of a new thematic and formal notion of the fin-de-siècle: spirit and matter, nature and art, as well as Eros and Thanatos constituted the program of his artistic oeuvre. The pictorial works of the avant-gardist Klimt further express a longing for beauty and sensuality. Along with works from the holdings of the Leopold Museum and the Leopold family’s private collection, the presentation will feature exhibits from the Klimt Foundation, works given to the museum as a permanent loan by a Klimt descendant as well as select international loans from private and institutional collections. Thus, the exhibition retraces Klimt’s artistic evolution from an exponent of late Historicism towards one of the most eminent representatives of Viennese Jugendstil.
“From Sketch to Painting” – Klimt’s Last Masterpiece The Bride
One of the highlights of this presentation is the room curated by Sandra Tretter (Klimt Foundation) devoted to Klimt’s Symbolist painting The Bride. The artist designed his last masterpiece on the basis of numerous drawings and studies, ranging stylistically between Jugendstil and Expressionism. The large-scale group of figures will be shown for the first time in the context of pertinent work drawings and the artist’s only extant sketchbook from 1917. This authentic document from the collection of the Klimt Foundation not only contains pencil sketches for lost Klimt paintings but illustrates in a unique manner the work process behind his unfinished painting The Bride, which was last documented for posterity by the artist’s favorite photographer Moriz Nähr within the intimate setting of Klimt’s Hietzing studio.