The Klimt Landscape Show is both more and less than expected

The most fascinating additions are 31 of the 50 miniature collotype photographs from the “Das Werk von Gustav Klimt” portfolio – divided among the show's three galleries. They float in the background, creating a sotto voce review of Klimt's painting career. His transitional landscapes and series of compositional devices from the late 1890s can be seen here. For one thing, vertical clusters of figures or flowers are isolated in the centers of some paintings, such as landscapes like “Sunflower,” or one of his most famous figurative works, “The Kiss.” Collotypes of the two hang side by side in the final gallery of the show.

Few of Klimt's paintings exist today only in collotype reproductions. Many of the originals were destroyed in World War II; Others were reworked. For example, Klimt's Portrait of Emilie Flözin from 1902-03, seen here in collotype, is one of his earliest decorative portraits. Shortly after it was photographed for the portfolio, Klimt reworked it and brought it up to speed with his latest. He intensified the blue, breaking up the figures into thin, mosaic-like patterns and adding a glint of silver.

As you progress through the show, the dots connect both visually and historically. The installation makes it unusually clear that Hoffmann's famous brooches are small gardens of flowers and trees that are in dialogue with Klimt's landscapes – they are square and emphasize their modernity.

You can see another such connection when you reach the third and final gallery of the show, where five of the six late landscapes seem to fill almost the entire space with their dense foliage. Some of the trunks in these pictures have brown, split green, black and gray sinuous trunks.

See also  Largest protest in Spain against Catalan amnesty law draws 170,000

Between their curves and slightly hallucinatory shapes, they evoke some of Klimt's portrait subjects and their flowing dresses. As if bearing witness to this unexpected connection, Klimt's unfinished “Portrait of Rhea Munk III” (1917-1918) hangs on the adjacent wall, a life-size figure of a dark-skinned woman in a roughly loose floral robe. Behind the bands of flowers transformed into a variety of real or stylized or decorative objects, is a true painting of the Secession-Werkstadt achievement.

I doubt that there have been many Klimt exhibitions like this one, such an evocative, incidental survey of his life and times, with unusually effective use of extreme context. By the time you reach the final gallery to admire a small group of late landscapes, you may have a different idea of ​​how many paintings are needed to carry a display of this scale and make more sense. I did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *