The last female portrait by Vienna’s iconic painter, Gustav Klimt’s Lady with Fan gazes seductively and with remarkable self-confidence into the distance. This vibrant painting is on show in Vienna again after more than a century. It will be presented with other examples of Klimt’s last works in a special exhibition at the Upper Belvedere.
Curated by Markus Fellinger.
In cooperation with
Shortly after Gustav Klimt’s death in 1918, a photograph was taken in the artist’s studio. It shows two paintings, each displayed on an easel: Lady with Fan and the unfinished work The Bride. While the latter has been on loan to the Belvedere for decades, the arrival of Lady with Fan in Vienna represents an important addition to the display of Gustav Klimt’s oeuvre. The Belvedere is presenting a fascinating show about the final artistic phase in the work of Vienna’s iconic artist.
Lady with Fan was the last painting Klimt worked on during the year 1917, and, except for a few details, he was able to finish the work. Whereas most of his portraits show society ladies, in this picture Klimt has probably painted an unknown model. Its subject is a variation on one of his favorite themes: the Viennese beauty. The seductive game of this unknown woman, who was probably a dancer, seems self-confident and assured. With her head held high, her shoulder exposed, and her naked breast concealed by a fan, she gazes out beyond the viewer.
Lady with Fan has only been exhibited once in Vienna: over a century ago at the Kunstschau in 1920. The picture was temporarily part of the Rudolf Leopold collection. It was shown at a public exhibition in Tokyo in 1981 and in Krakow in 1992.
Now this painting is returning to Vienna where it will be presented at the Upper Belvedere in a two-part exhibition. Part one shows Lady with Fan in the context of Gustav Klimt’s late unfinished works including The Bride, Amalie Zuckerkandl, Adam and Eve, and Lady in White. In October, the exhibition will be adapted and further components added. The new chapter will examine Klimt’s interest in East Asian art and highlight how these influences are reflected in his work. Lady with Fan: Gustav Klimt’s Last Works conveys how, shortly before his death, the painter was entering a new artistic phase.