On the second floor of the grand Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue, there’s a very special Gustav Klimt exhibition. It’s organized as part of the worldwide celebration of what would be Klimt’s 150th birthday.
When we think of Klimt, we immediately think of his ornate gold paintings, but this show proves he was so much more than that. As its central piece, the show has an astounding painting of one of his most famous subjects, Adele Block-Bauer, resplendent in a gold gown and stunning jewelery.
We love the painting of the bohemian woman, The Dancer/Die Tänzerin. Wearing a dress that looks like it could have been made by Marni, her ample bosom exposed, this painting must have caused quite a stir when it was first shown. The exhibition also showcases the artist’s remarkable landscapes, rich with decadent color.
Klimt’s relationship with his best friend Emile Flöge, a fashion designer and leader in what was to become known as the Reform Movement, is also highlighted. The movement supported wearing comfortable clothing, no more corsets and bodices, but instead loose fitting gowns. The photos of Emile show how incredibly modern she was, even by todays standards.
A room full of drawings, which were to be part of grand works for the Viennese government, but deemed too shocking at the time, left Klimt feeling disillusioned with government projects. Instead, he turned to his portraits for which we all know him for.
The drawings are so modern and sensual, if they were to debut in a Chelsea gallery today, you could easily believe they were produced by a young art star, not someone who would be turning 150 years old this summer.
Gustav Klimt. 150th Anniversary Celebration. Neue Galerie. 1048 Fifth Avenue. New York. NY. 10028. Tel: 212 628 6200