Gustav KLIMT (1862-1918)
The Two Friends  
c. 1905/6
Graphite on paper
Framed size 74.5 x 54 cms
Dimensions unframed - 55 x 34.9 cms
Stamped and inscribed lower right 
from the Estate of Gustav Klimt:
‘Nachlass meines Bruders Hermine Klimt’
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Gustav Klimt
Marvellous Original Framed Drawing by Klimt - The Two Friends

1905/6

About

Gustav KLIMT (1862-1918) The Two Friends c. 1905/6 Graphite on paper Framed size 74.5 x 54 cms Dimensions unframed - 55 x 34.9 cms Stamped and inscribed lower right from the Estate of Gustav Klimt: ‘Nachlass meines Bruders Hermine Klimt’ In contemporary Secession frame Provenance - The Estate of Gustav Klimt - Galerie Kornfeld, Bern - Dorotheum: Wednesday the 26th of November 2003 (Lot 00011) - Private collection Bibliography - The drawing will be included in Marian Bisanz-Prakken’s forthcoming Supplement to the catalogue raisonné of Gustav Klimt’s drawings, published by Alice Strobl. - R. Metzger ‘Gustav Klimt, Drawings and Watercolours’, Verlag Christian Brandstatter, Vienna, 2005 (reproduced on page 283) This exquisite drawing is one of the most outstanding examples from the celebrated group of classic-sized sheets of drawings made by Klimt at the end of the first decade of the 20th century, his Golden Phase. Its striking quality lies in the rare surety and restraint of its line, the elegant balance, and sparsity of its composition, and the singular tenderness of its erotic subject matter. The provenance of the work is also of an especial calibre. As one of the works forming the artist's estate on his death in 1918, this drawing is stamped and inscribed ‘Nachlass meines Bruders Hermine Klimt’, as coming into the possession of the artist's sister Hermine Klimt. Since that time it has changed hands remarkably little, being handled by the prestigious Galerie Kornfeld in Bern, and entering a private collection in Paris. The drawing is presented in a highly impressive contemporary Secession frame, itself an artwork of considerable consequence, and a rare and historically apposite context for this significant drawing. We are most grateful to Dr Marian Bizanz-Prakken for confirming the attribution and date of this work. Gustav Klimt The name Gustav Klimt is one of the most widely known in the history of modern art. Images of his great paintings have percolated far beyond the art world, and resonate with an international audience of many hundreds of millions of people; paintings by his hand are amongst the most expensive ever sold, including the glinting 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I', which fetched $158,500,000 in June 2006. Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, the second of seven children. His father, Ernst Klimt, from Bohemia, was a gold engraver. They lived in poverty for most of Klimt's childhood, the economy being difficult for such immigrants. In 1876, he was enrolled in the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts (Kunstgewerbeschule), where he studied until 1883, and received training as an architectural painter. With his brother Ernst and their friend Franz Matsch, Klimt began to receive commissions, as the 'Company of Artists', and Klimt's professional career began as a painter of interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings on the Ringstraße. In 1888 Klimt received the Golden order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria for his contributions to art. He also became an honorary member of the University of Munich and the University of Vienna. In 1892 both Klimt's father and brother Ernst died, and he assumed financial responsibility for his father's and brother's family. In the early 1890s, Klimt met Emilie Flöge, who, notwithstanding the artist's relationships with other women, was to be his companion until the end of his life. Vienna secession years Klimt became one of the founding members and President of the Vienna Secession group in 1897. The group's goals were to provide exhibitions for unconventional young artists, to bring the best foreign artists' works to Vienna, and to publish its own magazine to showcase members' work. The group declared no manifesto and did not set out to encourage any particular style - Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists all coexisted. The government supported their efforts and gave them a lease on public land to erect an exhibition hall. In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to create three paintings to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall in the University of Vienna. Not completed until the turn of the century, his three paintings, Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence were criticized for their radical themes and material, which was called 'pornographic'. Klimt had transformed traditional allegory and symbolism into a new language which was more overtly sexual, and hence more disturbing. The public outcry came from all quarters - political, aesthetic, and religious. As a result, they were not displayed on the ceiling of the Great Hall. This would be the last public commission accepted by the artist. All three paintings were destroyed by retreating SS forces in May 1945. His Nuda Verita (1899) defined his bid to further shake up the establishment. The starkly naked red-headed woman holds the mirror of truth, while above it is a quote by Schiller in stylized lettering, "If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, please a few. To please many is bad." In 1902, Klimt finished the Beethoven Frieze for the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition, which was intended to be a celebration of the composer and featured a monumental, polychromed sculpture by Max Klinger. Meant for the exhibition only, the frieze was painted directly on the walls with light materials. After the exhibition, the painting was preserved, although it did not go on display until 1986. Golden Phase and critical success Klimt's 'Golden Phase' was marked by positive critical reaction and success. Many of his paintings from this period utilized gold leaf; the prominent use of gold can first be traced back to Pallas Athene (1898) and Judith I (1901), although the works most popularly associated with this period are the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and The Kiss (1907 - 1908). Klimt traveled little but trips to Venice and Ravenna, both famous for their beautiful mosaics, most likely inspired his gold technique and his Byzantine imagery. In 1904, he collaborated with other artists on the lavish Palais Stoclet, the home of a wealthy Belgian industrialist, which was one of the grandest monuments of the Art Nouveau age. Klimt's contributions to the dining room, including both Fulfillment and Expectation, were some of his finest decorative work, and as he publicly stated, "probably the ultimate stage of my development of ornament." Between 1907 and 1909, Klimt painted five canvases of society women wrapped in fur. His apparent love of costume is expressed in the many photographs of Flöge modeling clothing she designed. As he worked and relaxed in his home, Klimt normally wore sandals and a long robe with no undergarments. His simple life was somewhat cloistered, devoted to his art and family and little else except the Secessionist Movement, and he avoided café society and other artists socially. Klimt's fame usually brought patrons to his door, and he could afford to be highly selective. His painting method was very deliberate and painstaking at times and he required lengthy sittings by his subjects. Though very active sexually, he kept his affairs discreet and he avoided personal scandal. Like Rodin, Klimt also utilized mythology and allegory to thinly disguise his highly erotic nature, and his drawings often reveal purely sexual interest in women. His models were routinely available to him to pose in any erotic manner that pleased him.

Details

  • Dimensions
    H 29.34 in. x W 21.26 in. x D 0.6 in.H 74.5 cm x W 54 cm x D 1.5 cm
  • Gallery Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    LU67333203201
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