070512: Leopold Museum Klimt Personally – Letters, Pictures, Insights

Leopold Museum Klimt Personally – Letters, Pictures, Insights 24.02.12 – 27.08.12 What about Klimt? By Aurelia Jurtschitsch 1897 – Klimt is 35 years old, established, and has already been honoured with the Golden Cross for Service by Kaiser Franz Josef I, entrusted with state commissions (faculty pictures) and is now the first president of the Vienna Secession, which he himself helped to initiate. - On April 14, 1897, the stream of communication to the "Most Esteemed Miss Emilie Flöge" begins. About 400 postcards and letters from Klimt's pen to Emilie Flöge (with some individual exceptions) make up the crowning treasure of the Klimt Personally exhibition. After all, it has to do with the private correspondence between the celebrated famous-infamous artist and also with his desire for models, and his 12 years younger friend, muse, lover(?) – in any case, the sister of his sister-in-law, the leading fashion designer in Vienna after 1900. The series of letters begins impetuously with Klimt's last-minute cancellation of their French lesson and a plea for dispensation (and that several times). Letter No. 2 is certainly the most brilliant and sparkling, containing a winged and radiant heart that flies to Emilie from Munich to Vienna and a "long kiss" that snakes as a sort of semiotic line with devotion to "Gustav". Several invitations to theatre evenings are formulated in a friendly manner but are short and to the point. Klimt speaks willingly about his bodily well-being and not well-being and also invariably about the weather which he takes literally as a trend indicator, observes the changes in nature – some of which inspire him to create his pictures, such as a landscape at Attersee. Klimt manifests all this as a contemplative person, as a visual person, as a life person – both in the choice of the card subjects whether it be on a journey from Vienna (such as the art postcards from the Vienna Workshop, or views of the zoo) as well as in the descriptions of what moves him. The selection of the postal tidings was unwittingly curated because after Klimt's death, a large portion of the post from "GUS" (as he liked to sign himself) to Emilie was burnt. Was it a targeted selection? Which pages should not be preserved? Nevertheless, the remaining paperwork continually documents the 20 years of the joint, but separated lives. Klimt and Flöge never lived together; he with his mother and two sisters, she in her own flat. In order to keep up with his urge to communicate, he favours by far and away the newly-discovered, highly efficient tube post over the telephone. There are days on which he writes several cards. His way instinctively reminds one of the present form of writing SMS's – and, if one thinks about it consequently, art historians will complain yet again because the SMS's and E-mails of the present-day artists will not be filed for a sufficient length of time. Based on news such as: "In Ravenna, much squalor – the mosaics are simply wonderful." Or "El Greco is magnificent!", or the "conviction that there is no area of human life that is so insignificant and humble that it cannot offer room for artistic ambitions" (quote from the speech to the exhibition of 1908), the exhibition producers want to go against the cliché that Klimt did not leave anything essential to posterity – this calculation doesn't add up. Which doesn't diminish the fact that a voyage of discovery is waiting in the wings behind what is described as a shy person. One could also take the standpoint that a private correspondence satisfies less interest in art history than it reveals a personal side of a human. And if one expects more "expedient evidence" in the extant (paparazzo-like) lines in light of Klimt's definitely permissive way of life – in July 1899, his first son, Gustav Ucicka was born and in the September of the same year his second son, Gustav Zimmermann – one is, for the purpose of Klimt, rebuffed by his absolutely revealing pictures. Leopold Museum 1070 Vienna, MuseumsQuartier Tel: +43 1 525 70 – 0 Fax: +43 1 525 70 – 1500 email: leopoldmuseum@leopoldmuseum.org http://www.leopoldmuseum.org Opening hours: Wed – Mon 11 – 19, Fri 11 – 21 hours

Leopold Museum
1070 Wien, Museumsquartier
Tel: +43 1 525 70-0, Fax: +43 1 525 70-1500
Email: leopoldmuseum@leopoldmuseum.org
Öffnungszeiten: Mi-So 10-18 h

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