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Say it with Flowers!

Viennese Flower Painting from Waldmüller to Klimt

22 June 2018 to 30 September 2018
Orangery, Lower BelvedereBelvedere
Say it with flowers is a well-known saying and with good reason. Throughout the ages, flower pictures have been infused with strong symbolic power. In nineteenth-century Vienna, flower painting attained an incomparable quality, variety, and significance. Flowers occupy an important place in the oeuvres of artists such as Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller and Gustav Klimt. This exhibition at the Orangery takes a look at art history from its “floral” side!
The exhibition traces flower pictures from the late eighteenth through to the early twentieth centuries. The Belvedere’s collection comprises abundant examples, some of which have not been on display for decades. This period charts the depiction of flowers from the “discovery” of nature, to the opulence of the Ringstrasse era, to the transformed, stylized blooms of the early twentieth century (Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele). Flower painting therefore echoes general developments in art history, mirroring the liberation from academic art. It was in this genre that women artists like Pauline Koudelka-Schmerling and Olga Wisinger-Florian, still barred from studying at the Academy, could first establish themselves on an equal footing with their male colleagues. The exhibition covers this aspect as well as external models and influences on Austrian flower painting, illustrated by some outstanding loans. In addition, works by contemporary artists often reveal astonishing parallels to the art of their predecessors.

Featuring works by Jan van Huysum, Rachel Ruysch, Josef Klieber, Josef Nigg, Franz Xaver Petter, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Eugène Delacroix, Pauline Koudelka-Schmerling, Rosalia Amon, Anton Romako, Hans Makart, Olga Wisinger-Florian, Tina Blau, Carl Schuch, Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Michael Powolny, Egon Schiele, Gerhard Richter, and Willem de Rooij, among others.

Curator: Rolf H. Johannsen