Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Klimt at Neue Galerie

Visited the Neue Galerie for the first time last Sunday. The gallery, housed in a lovely town mansion facing Central Park, exhibits German and Austrian Art. The star attraction now is Gustav Klimt. Many more drawings than paintings, which was a little disappointing. Many drawings are of women masturbating. And I thought it was more than a little weird to stick Hope II to the back wall of Klimt's studio on exhibit, making it much harder to examine the painting. The figure of the woman is inspired by Egyptian sculpture, and features Klimt's favorite image of a pregnant woman. Her bowed head is echoed by the three bowed female heads forming a kind of pedestal.

Hope II, 1907-08

His wall mural, Beethoven's Frieze, is interesting: wispy women floating wraith-like around the walls, the artist as a knight-errant setting out to battle the monster Typhoon in the shape of a huge ape flanked by his medusa daughters, the chorus of women suspended in the air, their feet pointing down. The narrative climaxes in an embrace of naked man and woman, blue stringy lines around their feet looking like pants they have just let drop.

The other paintings on show are very famous ones. I really like The Dancer, a sweetness about the face and posture. The use of flowers and tapestries to flatten traditional perspective. The six Japanese-like figures floating in the left background, like cherubs around the new Madonna.

The Dancer, 1916-1918

Adele is obviously Klimt. Her distorted hands show off her long, slender fingers.

Adele Bloch-Bauer
, 1907

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