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Who and what inspired Klimt

The jubilee, 300 years of the Belvedere, could not have begun with more dignity: In a major research project, one researched Klimt’s source of inspiration. The influences are documented in about 90 paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Close cooperation with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where the exhibition was in the fall, began in 2015, said curator Marcus Villinger. The fact that the show, initially planned for fall 2020, had to be postponed due to the coronavirus “did not It was not necessarily a disadvantage to the lender’s research and negotiations.”

Photo series with 11 photos

In fact, the list of artists is quite impressive and, in addition to Klimt himself, ranges from Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh to Henri Matisse, Ferdinand Hodler, and Fernand Khnopf. In the center is a Klimt painting last seen in Austria in 1964 and whose showing made Roelig “particularly proud and happy”: “Water Serpent II”. The painting was in the possession of Nazi director Gustav Oske from Jenny Steiner and was sold abroad in 2013 as part of a compensation settlement.

The effects are becoming apparent

In the immediate vicinity of “Water Serpents II” you can now see not only three more Klimt paintings from the same body of work (such as “Girlfriends (Water Serpents I)”), but also “embroidered paintings” by Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh. The influence from the Scottish School of Art Nouveau, exhibited at the Vienna Secession in 1900, is striking.

Also remarkable is the juxtaposition of landscape paintings by Monet and Van Gogh with Klimt’s, the similarity between Klimt’s portrait of Joanna Stud and Henri Matisse’s “Green-eyed Girl” hanging beside her or the corresponding portraits of women by Klimt and John Singer Sargent revealed.

Klimt. Inspired by Van Gogh, Rodin, Matisse…

Lower Belvedere, February 3rd to May 29th, Monday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm, Catalog by Hermer Verlag: 240 pages, €32.90

Klimt’s Attractions

In an adjoining room, reproductions of all of Van Gogh’s paintings that could be found in the Vienna collections during Klimt’s lifetime are on display. A documentary about the international art and gallery scene in those years can be viewed in the final cabinet. Roelig said of trying to bring “Klimt’s planet, which rotates in his solar system”, into a new orbit and finding “definitive and reliable answers” to the question of what gravitational forces he is actually experiencing.

“Everything that seemed interesting and new to him, he incorporated into his art,” said Felinger. For the curator, this is not synonymous with the projection of a monument by a lone artistic genius, but evidence of the artist’s modernity, who sensitively absorbs the currents of his time: “The installation makes his work unique.”