Owning the largest collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt worldwide, the Belvedere is preparing a very special presentation for this anniversary year. The show Masterpieces in Focus: 150 Years of Gustav Klimt on the Upper Belvedere
s piano nobile will display all of the artists paintings preserved in the museum in an extraordinary fashion. Unlike most exhibitions of recent years, it will not deal with stylistic relationships or art historical contexts, but will concentrate on the individual works as such on the message each of these masterpieces conveys to the spectator.
This anniversary practically invites us to look at each single year, even beyond Klimts lifetime. A further focus of the exhibition will thus be on the hitherto neglected history of the reception of Klimts work and personality. Over these 150 years, Klimt has become a phenomenon not only in art theory, but also in contemporary history. The interdisciplinary approach and the selection of the objects, as well as the shows graphic and multimedia format, will certainly contribute to transmitting to the spectator Klimts art and its consequences on an entirely new level of understanding.
With Gustav Klimt / Josef Hoffmann, the Belvedere pays tribute to two pioneers of Modernism in a comprehensive exhibition that simultaneously introduces the Klimt Year 2012. The painter Gustav Klimt (18621918) and the architect and product and interior designer Josef Hoffmann shared a common vision of an art that was meant to touch all spheres of life. Over two decades, they were joined in their artistic and social activities, even if the intensity of their collaboration varied. They frequented the same circles, worked for the same clientele, and were both leading personalities in Viennas newly emerging art scene.
Such outstanding projects as the Beethoven exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 1902 and the Stoclet Palace in Brussels, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, were landmarks for generations to come. Klimt and Hoffmann strove to establish a harmony between the visual and the applied arts and set new benchmarks in Europe when it comes to the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk. By means of numerous paintings, original plans, elaborate reconstructions, models, and historical documents, the show at the Belvedere illustrates the genesis and spatial impact of their joint projects and elucidates the intensive exchange with the Belgian art scene that lastingly influenced the evolution of Viennese Modernism.