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Sale: 392 / Modern Art, June 09. 2012 in Munich Lot 16

Gustav Klimt - Liebespaar

Lot description
Liebespaar. 1908/09.
Pencil and blue pen.
Strobl 1873. On light creme wove paper. 55,6 x 36,6 cm (21,8 x 14,4 in), size of sheet.
This drawing was made in connection with the painting "Tod und Leben" from 1908-1911 (Novotny-Dobai 183).

PROVENANCE: Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., London.
Private collection Southern Germany.

EXHIBITION: Gustav Klimt. Paintings and drawings, Marlborough Gallery, London, October - November 1965, cat. no. 29 (with illu.).
3. Internationale der Zeichnung, special exhibition Gustav Klimt and Henri Matisse, Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, 15 August - 11 November, 1970, cat. no. 129 (with illu.).

Gustav Klimt was born at the XIV district of Baumgarten in Vienna on 14 July 1862 as son of a gold engraver. In 1876 he began his studies at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule under the influence of the history painter Hans Makart, which was apparent in his first orders for theatre decorations and ceiling paintings. Soon Klimt received prizes for his works. At the turn of the century - he was just designing wall and ceiling decorations for the university - he developed a new two-dimensionally-ornamental, decorative style, which combines naturalistic details of bodies with abstract, colorful, mosaic-like patterns. His orderers protested resolutely and legal proceedings erupted. In 1905 Klimt was allowed to keep the designs in return of his payment. At the same time the Vienna Secession emerged and Klimt was a founding member and its first president from 1897 to 1905. In 1902 Klimt executed the famous Beethoven frieze for Josef Maria Olbrich's Secession building, which can still be visited in the basement of the building. In 1905 Klimt and a group of like-minded people left the Secession due to conflicts with the artist association's naturalistic wing. Klimt's motifs were partly provocatively erotic, partly playfully ornamental. He created impressing portraits, especially of ladies from the Viennese high society, but also intensively dense landscape paintings. Like no other artist and as the favourite of certain circles of the Viennese society of the ending monarchy he was able to depict the spirit of the feudal bourgeoisie with its aspirations to cultivate the aesthetic and its yearning for the pleasures of life at the Fin-de-Siècle. Klimt traveled extensively - one of his most important works is not in Austria, but in Brussels: he executed the decoration of the dining room in Josef Hoffmann's Palais Stoclet, a Gesamtkunstwerk of Viennese Art Nouveau.

Klimt usually prepared his paintings with numerous sketches. For the work "Tod und Leben", made between 1908 and 11, studies of the female figure and the loving couple are still in existence. In this work the couple is the erotic main motif, which Klimt partly hides under a frisky ornamental decor. The eventful line, the sophisticated arrangement of space and the eccentric economy of artistic means characterize this masterly sheet. He reinterprets the classic theme of the naked body, not comparable with the statue-like academic nudes of the 19\up5 th century. In this drawing, similar to the studies of couples from 1904/05, the man has the more active part, which can also be observed in the famous freeze in the Palais Stoclet in Brussels.

The artist's international approval was proven by numerous exhibitions and finally moved the conservative spirits, who honoured him: Although a professorship for Klimt was repeatedly refused, he became honorary member of the academies in Vienna and Munich. Gustab Klimt died from a stroke in his hometown Vienna on 6 February 1918. [DB].

Gustav Klimt
Liebespaar, 1908.
€ 40,000 / $ 46,000
€ 48,800 / $ 56.119

(incl. 22% surcharge)

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