Location: Lower Belvedere
With Gustav Klimt / Josef Hoffmann, the Belvedere pays tribute to two pioneers of Modernism in a comprehensive exhibition that simultaneously introduces the Klimt Year 2012. The painter Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) and the architect and product and interior designer Josef Hoffmann shared a common vision of an art that was meant to touch all spheres of life.
Over two decades, they were joined in their artistic and social activities, even if the intensity of their collaboration varied. They frequented the same circles, worked for the same clientele, and were both leading personalities in Vienna’s newly emerging art scene.
Such outstanding projects as the Beethoven exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 1902 and the Stoclet Palace in Brussels, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, were landmarks for generations to come. Klimt and Hoffmann strove to establish a harmony between the visual and the applied arts and set new benchmarks in Europe when it comes to the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk.
By means of numerous paintings, original plans, elaborate reconstructions, models, and historical documents, the show at the Belvedere illustrates the genesis and spatial impact of their joint projects and elucidates the intensive exchange with the Belgian art scene that lastingly influenced the evolution of Viennese Modernism.
The Belvedere owns the largest collection of oil paintings by Gustav Klimt worldwide. The works Fritza Riedler, Sonja Knips, Lady at the Fireplace, and Watersnakes I are on display until 4 March 2012 within the framework of the exhibition at the Lower Belvedere.
The permanent collection at the Upper Belvedere offers a survey ranging from the artist’s early period to his last, unfinished works. Klimt’s masterpiece The Kiss was acquired for the “Modern Gallery” (today’s Belvedere) as early as 1908 during the Vienna Kunstschau and is permanently on view at the Upper Belvedere.