Gustav Klimt

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

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


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017

The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015

Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

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 9, 2013 - September 27, 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


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


Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989




Of the many Austrian artists represented by the Galerie St. Etienne, Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) in some ways best epitomizes the curious downs and ups of our fifty years in the United States. Certainly he is today the most widely known artist of Vienna's fin-de-siècle cultural renaissance--more widely known, even, than Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele, his Expressionist followers. Yet for many years it seemed that Klimt would never find international recognition. Though his controversial painting philosophy received the gold medal at the Paris World's Fair in 1900, success abroad--particularly in neighboring Germany--eluded him all his life. After his death, his contributions were superseded by the seemingly more avant-garde Expressionist movement and its various offshoots. Klimt faded quickly into the historical past, and his emergence was in no way encouraged by the rarity of his paintings outside Austria.


Whereas the Galerie St. Etienne mounted the first American showings of work by Kokoschka and Schiele soon after its founding in 1939, only in 1959 could it muster enough representative pictures for the first U.S. Klimt exhibition. From then on, however, things began rapidly to improve. Already in 1956, Harvard had acquired its Klimt from the Galerie St. Etienne (the first American museum to do so), and in 1957 the Museum of Modern Art followed suit. The 1965 Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum was the first to present the artist's work on a large scale, and a subsequent proliferation of Klimt monographs introduced him to an even broader audience. The psychedelic movement of the 1960s, which had a superficial affinity to Klimt's densely packed pictorial surfaces, helped plaster countless college dormitories with poster reproductions of his work. Suddenly, a Klimt "boom" was underway, and his subtle blend of the sinister and the romantic continues to exert a strong emotional pull on many who, knowing little of the artist or his background, are nonetheless seduced by his sumptuous gold and silver canvases.


Klimt regained his former position as modern Vienna's leading painter not merely because of a passing compatibility with the contemporary mindset, but because of the enduring validity of his artistic vision. This would-be rebel--founding president of the Vienna Secession in 1897--in fact got his start as a conventional muralist, and his work serves as a major bridge between the nineteenth century and the twentieth. Even after he ceased to receive mural commissions, his message, as expressed in countless allegories, remained essentially public. Klimt's lingering desire to comment on the meaning of life, to unmask its morbid and libidinous undercurrents, conflicted with his mid-career association with the Wiener Werkstätte design collective, founded in 1903. The benign decorative concerns of his Werkstätte assignments (and of his contemporaneous "golden" paintings) seemed at odds with his more profound philosophical leanings. A related contradiction developed between the artist's steadfast dependency on realistic subject matter, and a tendency toward abstraction derived from the Werkstätte's influence. Thus it happened that the two dominant threads of the nascent modernist movement--Expressionism and abstraction--became interwoven throughout his oeuvre. Such ambiguity usually implies weakness, but in Klimt's case the result was just the opposite. Rather than succumbing to a single doctrinaire approach, Klimt to the end of his days remained opened to challenge and experimentation, and his work is alive with the energy of suggested possibilities.


The present exhibition offers an opportunity to examine, on a scale seldom possible in the United States, many of the phases and byways of Gustav Klimt's complex development. The earliest paintings in the show reveal his conventional academic roots, but at the same time they also demonstrate the concern with two-dimensional pattern that was to form the bulwark of the "golden" period. The famous Pallas Athena--avenging angel and offical protectress of the Secession--is among the highlights of the exhibition, and one of the artist's first "gold" paintings. The concerns of the golden period (or, as Klimt's contemporaries called it, his "mosaic style") are perhaps even more clearly evident in the artist's landscapes, wherein the obsession with juxtaposing little "chips" of color in an edge-to-edge pattern most blatantly verges on pure abstraction. Klimt's radical proclivities are also accentuated in his drawings, which progress from a staid academicism to total freedom and spontaneity.


As a supplement to Klimt's artwork, we are delighted to present--for the first time ever outside Austria--a portion of the estate of Emilie Flöge, Klimt's lifelong companion and (according to some) lover. Flöge, a dress designer whose fashionable shop on Vienna's Mariahilferstrasse was designed by the Wiener Werkstätte, very naturally owned an important collection of Werkstätte objects. She also had something of a collaborative relationship with Klimt, who also dabbled in fashion design. Klimt's floor-length caftans are almost legendary, and his spectacular gold-embroidered gown is one of the centerpieces of the Flöge estate.


50th Anniversary Committee








Dr. Jutta Bohnke-Kollwitz


The Honorable Leopold Bill von Bredow, CONSUL GENERAL OF THE








Lillian Gish




His Excellency Friedrich Hoess, AMBASSADOR OF AUSTRIA TO THE U.S.A.


Prof. Arne Kollwitz


Mr. and Mrs. Leonard A. Lauder


Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder


Gertrud Mellon






Mrs. John Alexander Pope




Dr. Richard A. Simms


The Honorable Wolfgang Steininger, CONSUL GENERAL OF AUSTRIA