Monday Lectures

Zoom lecture



26 April 2021

Portraits of Secession Vienna:

Klimt, Schiele, Gerstl

with Chris Boïcos

Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, 1907, Neue Galerie New York

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Vienna at the turn of the 20th century was the capital of an increasingly cosmopolitan and industrial Empire. The old aristocratic and Catholic traditions of the Hapsburg court were giving way to a new wave of modernity in society and culture which in the arts go by the label of the Vienna “Secession”. In 1897 a group of Austrian painters, graphic artists, sculptors and architects, including Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, Otto Wagner and Gustav Klimt broke away, or seceded, from the official Association of Austrian artists in order to launch a movement of renewal of all the arts. In our lecture we will examine the portraits of the Viennese society figures, notably the women, who supported the new art movement. We will see how three revolutionary styles of portraiture, first by Klimt and then by his younger colleagues, Egon Schiele and the tragic Richard Gerstl, were created to portray this new society of forward-looking and sometimes angst-ridden industrialists, businessmen, intellectuals and their wives, in what, after all, was also the hometown of Sigmund Freud. The result was probably the most original group of painted portraits of the early 20th century

Egon Schiele, Eduard Kosmack, 1910-Belvedere Gallery, Vienna

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