An upcoming exhibition at the Neue Galerie in New York will center around the muses of legendary artist Gustav Klimt.



Gustav Klimt's Female Muses Unite For Upcoming Retrospective

Despite the tragic erasure of female artists up until the late Twentieth Century (yikes!), women always fueled the creative imaginations of white male painters across Europe. The notion of the muse dates back to ancient Greek mythology, when Zeus’ magnificently beautiful daughters inspired the works of practitioners everywhere. Gustav Klimt, the Austrian symbolist painter revered by wannabe quirky Tumblr kids worldwide, is perhaps the most infamous perpetrator of the female muse, having lured an array of women he desired with the prospect of being painted by him.

Now, all the women of Klimt’s life are coming together for the first time—talk about awkward—for an upcoming retrospective, entitled Gustav Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918. And this time around, we’re not really concentrating on Klimt. Rather, the focus is on the women whose names are oftentimes forgotten, and whose faces are forever frozen inside some Western society’s most sanctified pieces of art.

AUSTRIA - JANUARY 01: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II. D177. 190 : 120 cm. Oil on Canvas by Gustav Klimt. 1912. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) [Bildnis Adele Bloch-Bauer II. D177. 190 : 120 cm. oel/Lwd. 1912.]
Two full-length portraits of Adele Bloch-Bauer II will be featured in Klimt’s upcoming retrospective this September.
Opening in September at the Neue Galerie in New York, the exhibition is an amassing of 12 paintings, 40 drawings, and 40 works of decorative art, all of which feature the women who afforded Klimt with endless means of pleasure and inspiration. Some of the women appear elaborately dressed, while others are rendered without clothing. After all, at the end of the Twentieth Century, intellectuals and artists alike were obsessed with unraveling the beauty of female sexuality.

Everyone is familiar with the painting, but do they know who the subject is?

Among the many women featured in the retrospective is Adele Bloch-Bauer, who is famed as the only muse to have two full-length portraits of herself by Klimt. The duo of pieces, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (1907) and “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II”(1912), haven’t been in the same room for over a decade, and will be pitted side-be-side come September. Other subjects who will be celebrated inside the exhibition include Gertha Loew (1902), Mäda Primavesi (1912), Szerena Lederer (1899) and her daughter Elisabeth Lederer (1914–16).

The unfinished “Portrait of Ria Munk III” (1917) is wackily stunning.

Spectators visiting Gustav Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918, will be granted the insight of the untold histories of some of the world’s most prized muses, which, in the end, is just as equally important in our understanding of the artist himself.

“Gustav Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918” will be open from September 22, 2016 – January 16, 2017 at the Neue Galerie in New York.

Stay tuned to Milk for more on art history’s erasure of women. 

Images via Neue Galerie

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