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Gustav Klimt

Left: Gustav Klimt in his studio garden. Circa 1912-14. Photograph.

Right: Poster for the First Secession Exhibition. 1898. Private collection.

EXHIBITIONS (*INDICATES SOLO EXHIBITION)

IFPDA Print Fair 2017

October 26, 2017 - October 29, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


Art Basel 2017

June 15, 2017 - June 18, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


ADAA Art Show 2017

March 1, 2017 - March 5, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Art Basel 2016

June 16, 2016 - June 19, 2016


ADAA Art Show 2016

March 1, 2016 - March 6, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Recent Acquisitions

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Art Basel 2015

June 17, 2015 - June 21, 2015


ADAA Art Show 2015

March 3, 2015 - March 8, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Alternate Histories

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Art Basel 2014

June 19, 2014 - June 22, 2014


ADAA: The Art Show 2014

March 5, 2014 - March 9, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Art Basel 2013

Galerie St. Etienne, Hall 2.0, Booth D11

June 13, 2013 - June 16, 2013


Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012


The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008


Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007


Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007


More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006


* Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005


Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003


In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 2002


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001


From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000


Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Taboo

Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997


The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 6, 1996


Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995


On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995


55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992


Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992


Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990


The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990


The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989


* Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988


From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 1988


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987


Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987


Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986


The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986


Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985


European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985


Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985


* Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983


Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983


Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982


The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982


Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980


* Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970


Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969


* Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967


The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964


Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964


Group Show

October 15, 1962


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961


Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


* Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959


Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950


Small, Good Art Works from the 19th and 20th Centuries

January 27, 1949


Franz Barwig the Elder, Franz Barwig the Younger and Gustav Klimt

March 12, 1948


Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

September 15, 1945


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


Group Exhibition

May 1, 1939


Austrian Art

February 1, 1939


Important Paintings

November 29, 1937


Anton Faistauer, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

June 1, 1933


Gustav Klimt and Bruno Lauterbach

March 29, 1928


* Gustav Klimt

May 20, 1926


TRANSFORMING REALITY

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008

ARTISTS

Basicevic, Ilija Bosilj

Baskin, Leonard

Bauchant, André

Bombois, Camille

Crepin, Joseph

Dix, Otto

Feininger, Lyonel

Felixmüller, Conrad

Fischer, Johann

Heckel, Erich

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig

Klee, Paul

Klimt, Gustav

Kokoschka, Oskar

Kollwitz, Käthe

Lesage, Augustin

Moses, Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma")

Nolde, Emil

O'Brady, Gertrude

Pechstein, Hermann Max

Reisenbauer, Heinrich

Romanenkov, Vasilij

Schiele, Egon

Skurjeni, Matija

Vivin, Louis

Wilson, Scottie

 

ESSAY

At the Galerie St. Etienne, the first months of the New Year have lately been demarcated by the Outsider Art Fair (January 25-27) and the ADAA Art Show (February 21-25). On the face of it, no two fairs could seem more different: the first devoted to the work of unschooled artists, the second to "blue-chip" classics. However, since its founding in 1939, the Galerie St., Etienne has comfortably straddled both worlds, recognizing that it was the pioneer modernists who initially championed the work of self-taught artists and legitimized their endeavors. With this in mind, in 2006 we launched a series of exhibitions juxtaposing the work of trained and unschooled artists. That year, we revisited "Parallel Visions," the groundbreaking exhibition mounted by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1992, to see how approaches to the field have changed in the interim. Last year, our subject was "Fairy Tale, Myth and Fantasy," themes that have always proved compelling to artists, regardless of their educational backgrounds. This year, our topic is the complex interplay between realism and abstract design.

 

Prior to the advent of modernism, realistic verisimilitude was more or less a given in Western art. To be sure, abstract aesthetic elements played a role in the deployment of form, color and brushstroke. And imaginative invention, religious teachings or historical idealization shaped content. But the finished work of art was unified by and depended upon the artist's ability to create a recognizable facsimile of the visible world. In the mid-nineteenth century, artists endeavored to make realism even more real by stripping it of stylistic artifice and idealization. This pseudo-scientific search for authenticity and objective truth led painters to create compositions that mimicked the seemingly artless spontaneity of photography and depicted, for the first time, unembellished subjects from the middle and lower classes. Eventually, the scientific approach spawned the optical formulae of the Impressionists, whose images of reality diverged decisively from those produced by the camera. The realist enterprise has never recovered from the revelation that there is no such thing as objective truth in art or, even in photography, a style-less style.

 

The elements that the nineteenth-century realists had tried to purg - abstract aesthetics and imaginative subjectivity - took on independent lives of their own in the twentieth century. Some artists and theorists proclaimed loudly that the only possible truth in painting entailed fidelity to its intrinsic nature: to form, color and the flatness of the picture plane. Others found their calling in the spiritual or the psychological. All agreed that modern life required a new pictorial language; conventional realism would no longer do. Not only was realism outmoded, but it was irredeemably tainted by its associations with bourgeois academicism. The realists' quest for authenticity was transmogrified into a search for artists uninfluenced by academic training. So the modernists attempted to emulate the creations of children and of tribal cultures, and for the first time trained painters began to take seriously the work of self-taught colleagues.

 

Vasily Kandinsky, the primary theorist of the German Blauer Reiter movement, was the first painter to formally lay out the rationale for bringing self-taught artists into the modernist fold. Unlike some later twentieth-century critics, who would seek to approach picture-making in purely formal terms, Kandinsky felt that all true art expressed inner spiritual content. He identified two possible means to achieve his artistic ideal: the "great realism" (by which he meant representational art devoid of conventional artifice) and the "great abstraction" (by which he meant non-objective art). He anointed the self-taught painter Henri Rousseau as the "father" of the new realism and identified numerous other examples of the genre, such as peasant votive paintings and Egyptian shadow puppets. Self-taught artists were not the only ones able to access the new realism (Kandinsky cited, among others, Henri Matisse, Franz Marc and Gabrielle Münter), but they had an advantage over trained artists because they had no academic preconceptions to overcome.

 

Although self-taught artists were hailed as paragons of anti-academicism, a good many of them had fairly conventional ambitions. Most of the self-taught artists "discovered" in the first half of the twentieth century - including André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, Morris Hirshfield, Lawrence Lebduska and Grandma Moses - favored traditional subjects such as landscapes, still lifes and portraits. They copied greeting cards and book illustrations, and usually admired exactly the sort of academic realism the modernists hated. Admittedly, self-taught painters were not very successful by academic standards, because the artists were unfamiliar with the techniques, like modeling, foreshortening and perspective, that are used to convincingly mimic reality. While most self-taught landscape painters knew, in a vague way, that objects in the foreground should appear larger than those in the background, the elements in their compositions were largely dispersed according to abstract formal considerations. Similarly, color could as easily be decorative as naturalistic. Because the artists were unable to effectively model shapes in the round, two-dimensional design was paramount in their work. Kandinsky's dichotomy notwithstanding, self-taught artists fashioned a type of realism that was strongly inflected by abstract elements.

 

In addition to looking at the work of their unschooled colleagues, modernists derived inspiration from a number of contemporary trends. Symbolism, a late-nineteenth-century reaction against "objective" realism, reestablished personal feelings as appropriate artistic subject matter. Art Nouveau - and especially its Germanic offshoots, Jugendstil and Secessionstil - provided a new formal vocabulary based on expressive line, color, pattern and negative space. In addition to influencing the Blauer Reiter artists, Jugendstil was paramount in shaping the work of the Austrians Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. Lyonel Feininger developed a feeling for two-dimensional form through his early experiences as a newspaper cartoonist. Japanese woodcuts, which fostered a similar aesthetic, were popular throughout Europe, but it was the German Expressionists who devoted the most attention to reviving the art of woodblock carving. Frequently choosing to work in monochrome, Expressionist printmakers juxtaposed flat slabs of black ink with stark white gougings to evoke everything from pseudo-primitive beach idylls to harsh poverty.

 

Modernists and self-taught artists in the early twentieth century created works that were remarkably similar in affect, if not in overt intention. Untethered from pedantic verisimilitude, the innate expressive qualities of form and color were allowed free reign, but the retention of recognizable subject matter established a communicative link between the artists' inner visions and the viewing public. This was indeed a new sort of realism, a realism with no pretensions to objective truth. The new realism could be bluntly confrontational in the hands of artists with a social agenda, such as Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz and later in the twentieth century, Leonard Baskin. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Kokoschka, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, Schiele and others used a modernist aesthetic to give deeper emotional resonance to their subjects. Feininger and Paul Klee wielded semi-abstract forms with playful whimsy, yet their intent was profoundly serious: to make visible the invisible forces of the cosmos, to link the human to the eternal.

 

Self-taught artists were, in sometimes deceptively simple ways, no less concerned with the deeper forces behind human existence than the modernists. Grandma Moses's depictions of the farm landscape where she lived celebrate humankind's place in the natural environment, while her pictorial reminiscences affirm an abiding link between the past and the present. The Russian artist Vassilij Romanenkov specializes in scenes populated by highly stylized figures enmeshed in a skein of minute decorative corpuscles that represent an ongoing dialogue with the spirit world. The Serbian painter Ilija Boslij-Basicevic invented a parallel universe called "Ilijada," which he said contained everything to be found on earth except evil. Scottie Wilson created a complex cast of symbolic characters representing the forces of good and evil. All these artists manipulated images drawn from our shared reality to create windows into personal worlds endowed with rich existential significance. For schooled and unschooled artists alike, the elements of abstract design and pattern constituted an emotional language that transformed and transcended visible reality.

 

Checklist entries include catalogue raisonné numbers, where applicable. Unless otherwise indicated, image dimensions are given for the prints and full dimensions for all other works.