KLIMT IN VIENNA
A new exhibit in Vienna looks at the artist who captured the city’s golden age. We must be having a Gustav Klimt moment. Earlier this year, the film Woman in Gold recounted the tale of Maria Altmann’s woman’s successful bid to win back a famous painting by Gustav Klimt from the Belvedere in Austria, where it was on display. The painting was a portrait of Altmann’s own aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, and had been confiscated by the Nazis during WWII. The Austrian government fraudulently claimed that Altmann’s grandmother had willed the painting to them, the case went to the US Supreme Court, and Altmann got her painting back. (In the film, Helen Mirren played Altmann, and Ryan Reynolds played her lawyer).
Now, the same gallery that lost the court case against Altmann is hosting a new display of their other Klimt paintings, entitled Klimt and the Ringstrasse. The Ringstrasse is the city center road built to replace the medieval walls during the Austro-Hungarian Empire; its construction marked Vienna’s evolution from a medieval city into a modern one. The exhibit coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Rinstrasse’s opening and will be an exploration of art from Vienna’s golden years before WWI and WWII, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was at its zenith.
According to the Belvedere:
Nowadays the term “Ringstrasse period” conjures up the ideal of a romanticized past. Marking the 150th anniversary of its opening, the Belvedere’s exhibition is thus aiming to visualize this transformation in art during the construction of the Ringstrasse that lasted over 50 years. For ultimately, constant change, discrepancy and continuity are the hallmarks of this period of rapid industrialization, which affected all areas of life from the economy and politics to society and art.
A fine opportunity, as well, for visitors to wonder where the rest of those Klimt paintings came from — and how much longer they will be in the Belvedere.
Runs through October 11.