Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Gustav Klimt Collection Loans Extended at the Neue Galerie

Photo credit:
Hulya Kolabas for Neue Galerie New York

New York (January 30, 2017)—Neue Galerie New York is pleased to announce the generous extension of four major private collection loans from the exhibition "Gustav Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918." The four full-length oil portraits by Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912), Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer (1914-1916), Posthumous Portrait of Ria Munk II (1917), and Portrait of Gertha Loew (1902), offer a rare view into the evolution of Klimt’s style and working methods, as well as a richer understanding of the circle of influential female patrons who supported his work. These works, which join the permanent display of Gustav Klimt’s iconic Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), will remain on view at least through April 17, 2017.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912) is the second oil portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the only subject Klimt painted twice in full-length portraits. The great stylistic distance that separates the two portraits reveals Klimt’s evolution as an artist. Furthermore, it underscores the artist’s renewal through the power of color. Inspired by the work of the French Fauves, and Henri Matisse in particular, Klimt employed bright hues and extravagant ornament to portray the sitter.

Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer (1914-1916) is one of Klimt’s most beguiling. The artist elevates the captivating charm of his sitter’s beauty, her elegant self-confidence, and youthful freshness into the realm of fantasy. The oriental motifs in the background demonstrate the significance of Asian art to his artistic development and give the work an exotic flair. Klimt was so close to the Lederer family that Elisabeth named him "uncle." When the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938, the family’s ties to Klimt helped to protect Elisabeth; her mother Szerena Lederer convinced the authorities that her daughter was actually Klimt’s illegitimate heir, and thus only half-Jewish, saving her from an uncertain fate.

Posthumous Portrait of Ria Munk II (1917) is one of two oil portraits, on generous loan from The Lewis Collection. When Klimt died in 1918, this was one of the numerous paintings that were left unfinished. These canvases provide invaluable insights into Klimt’s working methods. The iconography found in this portrait points to Klimt’s careful study of Asian art. For example, the various flowers in the background may symbolize happiness, wealthy, and beauty, and several of these elements are fairly complete. By contrast, Ria herself is only loosely sketched in charcoal and many of the details of her dress remain unrealized.

Portrait of Gertha Loew (1902) is the second oil portrait on loan from The Lewis Collection. This picture of nineteen-year-old Gertha Loew belongs stylistically to a series of portraits Klimt painted of women dressed in white, inspired in part by the art of James McNeill Whistler. The painting was completed just before Gertha’s wedding to businessman Dr. Johann Arthur Eisler von Terramare. It was comissioned by Gertha’s mother Sophie as a present for her husband Dr. Anton Loew, who was director of the Sanatorium Loew.
Neue Galerie New York
1048 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Tel. (212) 628-6200 

The Neue Galerie is a wonderful place to visit and view these works of Gustav Klimt. You can also enjoy a bite to eat at the fabulous Cafe Sabarsky. If you wish to know more about Gustav Klimt, watch the wonderful movie, Woman in Gold, with the uber-talented Helen Mirren. Then take a trip to the Neue Galerie to see the painting in person and prepare to be amazed! 

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