Despite all the male names commonly associated with Vienna modernism, the era was certainly not the sole domain of men. One important artist, for example, was Elena Luksch-Makowsky, as a new Belvedere exhibition demonstrates.
- One of the IN-SIGHT exhibition series
- Curated by Alexander Klee
- Runs Sept 24, 2020 – Jan 10, 2021
- See also: Belvedere ticket and visitor tips
From Russia with love (and talent)
A lot of exhibitions and museums tackle the era of Vienna modernism around 1900: a fascinating epoch where creativity blossomed in various fields of artistic endeavour even as the Habsburg monarchy approached its inglorious end. Most of the names intimately associated with the movement share one feature in common, however: masculinity.
Think Klimt, Wagner, Hoffmann, Loos…
Belvedere’s 2019 City of Women exhibition helped redress the gender balance, featuring the work of women artists who made significant contributions to the Vienna scene at the beginning of the 20th century.
The museum continues that corrective process with an exhibition dedicated to one of those female artists: the Russian-born Elena Luksch-Makowsky (1878-1967).
Luksch-Makowsky’s biography feels like it ticks all the boxes on the kind of life you want for your artists: born into a family of famous painters, whose clients included members of the imperial Russian court; travels to places like Venice and Florence as a child; studies in St. Petersburg and Munich; a range of influences…from the academic style to the avant garde.
Exhibitions put on by the Vienna Secession – the breakaway artist group cofounded by Klimt – featured her work. For example, she contributed two decorative panels to the legendary Beethoven exhibition of 1902. She became a de facto member of the Secession and also, for example, collaborated with another cornerstone of Vienna modernism: the Wiener Werkstätte.
Her husband, the Austrian sculptor Richard Luksch, had his own connection to the same art world. You’ll find one of his works, for example, on the golden-domed Steinhof church built by Otto Wagner in 1907.
Belvedere owns four of Luksch-Makowsky’s paintings from between 1900 and 1903. The collection includes perhaps the most important of her works: the Ver Sacrum self-portrait that also features her son.
As part of the IN-SIGHT series, the exhibition helps shine a spotlight on particular aspects of Belvedere’s archives. In the case of Luksch-Makowsky, for example, by exploring the influence of her Russian connections on her work in Vienna in the early 1900s.
The exhibition is also the only new Belvedere exhibition in the latter half of 2020, with Luksch-Makowsky a lone beacon of defiance against the programme changes arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Dates and tickets
Enjoy the exhibition from September 24th, 2020 to January 10th, 2021. No special ticket is required, just a normal entrance ticket for Upper Belvedere or a valid sightseeing pass.
How to get to the exhibition
See the main article on how to get to Belvedere. You want the Upper Belvedere palace at the southern end of the complex (home to Klimt’s The Kiss, for example.)
While you’re there, be sure to take a look at the permanent exhibition, particularly the numerous works by Klimt and Schiele.