A leading exponent of the Jugendstil and founding member of the Vienna Secession, Gustav Klimt is ranked among Austria’s greatest painters. In his lifetime, Klimt was widely regarded as one of the most fashionable artists of the fin de siècle. On the occasion of the centenary of the artist’s death in 1918, Shepherd W&K Galleries in New York has mounted a special exhibition of Gustav Klimt drawings.
The sensuality that Gustav Klimt’s works convey remains powerfully vivid today. Unfazed by social convention, he reveals essential aspects of life, shedding light on the wide range of sexual desire, the experience of pregnancy, and the ineluctable realities of birth and death. Media and society harshly criticized and derided his depictions of body and soul. He exposed the hypocrisy of the Viennese public and encouraged his contemporaries to do the same. His work paved the way for the autonomous evolution of the Vienna art scene; decades later, its influence can still be felt in the Viennese Actionism of the 1960s.
Many of the ca. 4,000 known authentic drawings by Gustav Klimt are in museums and private or public collections. With the current exhibition, Drawings, Shepherd W&K Galleries in New York present around 40 works, including portraits, studies, and a sizable ensemble of nudes. An accompanying publication will be released in the series W&K Edition.