Judith II (Salome), 1909
Klimt revolutionized the female image by depicting a woman simultaneously as a "femme fatale" and in the role of an active rescuer. As related in the Book of Judith from the Apocrypha, Judith saved the people of Israel by killing the tyrant Holofernes, who had succumbed to her charms.
Klimt's legendary landscapes not only depict the range of colors reflected in nature, as here on lake Attersee, but are profound in a dual sense: this lake is not only a water surface but a mirror of the soul.
Goldfische (Goldfish), 1901-02
Klimt's nudes sparked a scandal in his day. With this painting he turned the tables on his critics by devoting one of his most frivolous depictions to them.
Mutter und Kind (Mother and Child), 1910
By comparison to Klimt's playfulness, Schiele's eroticism is more direct and merciless in its immediate corporeality. Here, the body of the woman gazing seductively out of the picture appears to merge with that of her child.
Häuser und bunte Wäsche (Houses and Colorful Laundry), 1914
Egon Schiele was a master of the cityscape as well as of the human figure. His depictions of closely packed houses are among his finest works. It is wonderful to see how the entire color range is employed in the laundry hung out to dry.
Kardinal und Nonne (Cardinal and Nun), 1912
This is one of the most scandalous of Schiele's pictures. It broke a taboo, one that may still be in force today. Actually it is a superb evocation of the loneliness of two people involved in a forbidden relationship.
Selbstbildnis (Self-Portrait), 1917
The early modern era was a time of incessant self-questioning. Artists again and again painted penetrating self-portraits that revealed their inmost emotions and states of mind. Kokoschka's 1917 self-portait shows him shortly after he had overcome a profound crisis triggered by his experiences in World War I.
Der irrende Ritter (Selbstbildnis) (The Errant Knight, Self-Portrait), 1915
Kokoschka's marvelous painting, akin to a self-portrait, is an iconic image of the individual uprooted by the First World War. Viennese modernism implied not only a positive new beginning but reflections on the perversion of progress embodied by this terrible war.
Sitzmaschine (Machine for Sitting In), from 1906
Hoffmann's project reflects an attempt to suffuse all areas of life with functional design, and the striving of Viennese modernism to unite art, architecture and artisanry into a gesamtkunstwerk.
Deckeldose (Lidded Box), 1906
Even the most unprepossessing everyday objects were designed along the lines of a gesamtkunstwerk and stripped of all superficial ornamentation, with the aim of bringing functionality and beauty into a symbiosis.