Introduction

VIENNA 1900 – Klimt, Schiele and their Times September 26, 2010 – January 16, 2011

At the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century Vienna was one of the cradles of modernism. The city’s coffee house culture, composers and cabaret artists, Freud’s psychoanalysis, the daring experiments of the Wiener Werkstätte, and not least the scandals surrounding the Vienna Secession, were among the phenomena of the period. At the center of our comprehensive exhibition of Viennese Modernism stand the renowned ornamental portraits and landscapes of Gustav Klimt and the expressive figure depictions of Egon Schiele – and naturally their legendary erotic drawings.

Klimt and his brilliant protégé Schiele were the leading lights in Vienna of the day. The exhibition brings together an unprecedented selection of their masterworks from great museums and private collections around the world.

Portraits by the young Oskar Kokoschka, self-portraits by the tragedy-plagued Richard Gerstl, and works by the composer-painter Arnold Schoenberg, form further highlights. Works by other artists, architects, furniture designers, and artisans of the Viennese Secession and Workshops show how their close collaboration gave rise to a new, interdisciplinary form of art: the gesamtkunstwerk.

The Fondation Beyeler exhibition will comprise approximately 200 oil paintings, watercolors and drawings, supplemented by architectural models, furniture, textile designs, glass and silver objects, artists posters, and photographs. These add up to a fascinating picture of Vienna around 1900, of a kind never seen before.

Conceived by guest curator Barbara Steffen, the exhibition enjoys the special support of the Museum Leopold, the Albertina, the Kunsthaus Zug Stiftung Sammlung Kamm, and the Belvedere, MAK, Neue Galerie New York, Wien Museum, and Wiener Secession.

Station