It took him 125 years, but Klimt finally returns to an old stomping ground armed with little more than a pencil or piece of chalk. The Albertina Modern’s exhibition brings Klimt’s drawings to the Künstlerhaus.
- Around 100 works
- Covers a broad sweep across Klimt’s chronology and themes
- Includes preliminary studies for famous paintings
- Runs April 9 – July 17, 2022
- See also:
- Art exhibitions in Vienna
A return home
(Gustav Klimt; Standing Pair of Lovers, Seen from the Side, 1907/08; graphite, red pencil, gold paint © The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – Sammlung Batliner)
So much goodness going on in this Klimt exhibition, especially for those with an eye for history. Where to begin?
The Albertina Modern occupies exhibition space in the Künstlerhaus. This prominent location in any Klimt biography was home to the Vienna artists cooperative that dominated the art world in Austria as the 19th century drew to a close.
In the spring of 1897, some of the more avant garde members of this cooperative formed their own formal organisation, with Klimt as president.
At the cooperative’s AGM on May 22nd, 1897, the differences between the Klimt group and the more establishment figures resulted in a heated exchange. Bad words were used in a “robust” debate about the Austrian contribution to a recent exhibition in Dresden.
The more forward-looking artists stormed out, and Klimt and his colleagues resigned from the cooperative a couple of days later.
And so began the story of the Wiener Secession.
Well over a century later, and Klimt returns to the Künstlerhaus for his first solo exhibition there. It’s like rain on your wedding day. Or not.
The exhibition features around 100 of Klimt’s drawings, taken from the extensive Albertina collections.
Quite apart from the value of the works as art in their own right, they also include preliminary studies for some of Klimt’s more famous pieces. For example:
- The frescoes that a young Klimt painted for the staircase(s) at the Burgtheater (take a tour to see the final product for yourself)
- The Beethoven Frieze (also open for public viewing a short walk from the Albertina Modern in the Secession building)
- The portraits of Sonja Knips and Adele Bloch-Bauer (II). The subsequent painting of the former can normally be seen at Upper Belvedere
- The Faculty Paintings, intended for the University of Vienna but withdrawn by Klimt after controversy broke out around their motifs and execution
The final Faculty Paintings are lost to time (allegedly through fire during WWII), and only photographs and sketches remain.
The drawings cover the full gamut of Klimt’s output, with examples from his different creative periods and thematic focus. As such, they provide remarkable insight into his creative process and ability.
A journey round the galleries feels a little like drawing back the curtain in the Emerald City. Unlike the Wizard of Oz, though, Klimt is revealed as an imperious genius.
Dates, tickets & tips
Admire Klimt’s work with a pencil and similar tools from April 9th to July 17th, 2022. The exhibition coincides with another top event at the Albertina Modern: an Ai Weiwei exhibition.
For more of Klimt’s works, drop into the Upper Belvedere (The Kiss!) and Leopold museums. Also consider a trip to the studio where some of the drawings likely first saw the light of day. Find more Klimt locations in Vienna in this guide.
How to get there
See the main Albertina Modern article for travel tips.
Address: Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Vienna