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Exhibition Review – Klimt / Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna at the Royal Academy from 4th November 2018 to 3rd February 2019


The Royal Academy marks the centenary of the deaths of two of the pioneering figures of early twentieth-century art, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele both died in 1918. The Klimt / Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna exhibition is one of the first in the UK to focus on the importance of drawing for both artists.

The exhibition comprises of around 100 unique works on paper by Klimt and Schiele, including studies for allegorical paintings, portraits and self-portraits, landscapes, erotic nudes and a sketchbook, as well as carefully selected examples of lithographs, photographs and original publications. These rarely loaned works are drawn from the holdings of the Albertina’s world-renowned collection, and, following the exhibition at the Royal Academy and due to their sensitivity to light, they will not be displayed again for many years to come.

Klimt made his name painting the interiors of state buildings in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and the Burgtheater in Vienna. Despite his work being respected by the Viennese art establishment, in 1897 he became the founding president of a radical group of young artists called the Secession, who broke away from the state-sponsored Academy to exhibit art independently.  Klimt was able to develop a more unconventional and modern artistic approach that  raised his profile internationally.

Schiele was twenty-eight years younger than Klimt and had shown prodigious talent in his youth, he was advised by his  teachers  to enter the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts), where he enrolled aged 16 in 1906. At the turn of the twentieth century, both found themselves at different points in their careers, photographs in the exhibition show Klimt looking every inch the artist, whilst Schiele in his portrait shows his belligerent attitude.

The exhibition is arranged thematically in five sections examining Klimt’s and Schiele’s processes in drawing and how their particular styles were developed over time.

Klimt’s drawings usually relate to his painted work  therefore following traditional preparatory processes, Schiele used drawing as an end to itself and was interested in the expressive and graphic nature of the subject.

Although Klimt had influenced Schiele for many years, the drawings show that Schiele also influenced Klimt that create often very similar styles. In the early years of the twentieth century, it was the temperament of the two artists  that led to divergence in styles. Klimt became Vienna’s most sought after portrait painter with regular commissions from the Viennese fashionable society whereas  Schiele’s bohemian lifestyle was shocking the wider Viennese society.

Schiele began to live with his model, Wally Neuzil and in 1912 was arrested on charges of child abduction. The more serious charges were dropped but Schiele was jailed for a 24 days on the charge of public immorality.  Schiele’s drawings were made to shock the often conservative Viennese society and he succeeded but realised that to make a career as an artist he would need to compromise and he returned to Vienna and gained some new patrons.

Eventually, Schiele was widely acknowledged to be Klimt’s successor and his drawings reflected his new status. However the First World War interrupted this progress, although in 1916, both Klimt and Schiele participated in a exhibition in Berlin.

Schiele was stationed as a military clerk where he produced drawings of Russian captives in a prisoner of war camp and some landscape and nature drawings. At this time, Schiele was featured in a special issue of Die Aktion, a Berlin avant-garde magazine.

At the beginning of 1918, Klimt was the most respected artist in Vienna and Schiele was making a name for himself both in Vienna and internationally. Tragically by the end of 1918, both artists were dead, Klimt died from pneumonia and Schiele succumbed to the flu epidemic.

This fascinating exhibition illustrates the way that the artistic careers of Klimt and Schiele were interwoven especially at the beginning at the 20th century. Both tried to rebel against the conservative elements of Viennese society, however Klimt managed to push the boundaries whilst appealing to the avant-garde  collectors. Klimt’s influence on Schiele is evident in the young artist’s early drawings. From 1910, Schiele began to create his own expressive style which both shocked and fascinated the art world. Unfortunately the death of Schiele prevented the opportunity to see how his work would have developed, leaving a body of work that is often incoherent and disturbing.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended   

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

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Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera House – 23 February to 11 March 2015

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Comedy and philosophy unite in Mozart’s  opera The Magic Flute, brought  to life in David McVicar’s production.

Mozart wrote Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) for a suburban theatre in Vienna, the Theater auf der Wieden, and drew on the magical spectacle and earthy comedy of popular Viennese theatre. As well as being a comedy, Die Zauberflöte is an expression of Mozart’s spiritual beliefs. Enlightenment concerns with the search for wisdom and virtue are at the heart of this enchanting tale. Die Zauberflöte was an instant success with audiences and even Mozart’s supposed rival Salieri described it as an ‘operone’ – a great opera.

The Opera tells the story of Prince Tamino who promises the Queen of the Night that he will rescue her daughter Pamina from the enchanter Sarastro. He begins his quest, accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno, but all is not as it seems.

Tamino and Papageno discover Sarastro is a wise and kind leader and undergo three ordeals. By the end they are united with their true loves, Tamino with Pamina and Papageno with his Papagena.

David McVicar’s classic production embraces both the seriousness and comedy of Mozart’s work. The audience is transported to a fantastical world of dancing animals, flying machines and dazzlingly starry skies. The setting provides a wonderful backdrop for Mozart’s  score, from the Queen of the Night’s coloratura fireworks to Tamino and Pamina’s lyrical love duets and Papageno’s hearty, folksong-like arias.

Running time

About 3 hours 10 minutes | Including interval.

Language

Sung in German with English surtitles

For more information or to book tickets , visit the Royal Opera House website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review : Egon Schiele, The Radical Nude at the Courtauld Gallery – 23 Oct 2014 to 18 Jan 2015

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The Courtauld Gallery is holding the first major museum exhibition in over 20 years of Egon Schiele’s work . A central figure of Viennese art at the start of the 20th century until the end of the First World War. Schiele was influenced by contemporaries Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, but quickly developed his own particular style especially his radical depictions of the human figure. The exhibition concentrates on Schiele’s obsession with the human figure by displaying a number of drawings and watercolours of male and female nudes.

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Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude brings together a selection of thirty-eight works drawn from both international museums and private collections, with many works being shown in the United Kingdom for the first time.

Schiele arrived in Vienna in 1906, aged  sixteen, to train as an artist. His precocious talent was recognised by Klimt,  who became something of a mentor to the young artist. Schiele’s early work shows the influence of Klimt and Kokoschka, however in 1910, he began to develop his drawings of the nude in his own particular style.

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The first room in the exhibition presents  a series of  nudes from that particular year, these include a number of Schiele’s self-portraits and some portraits of his sister. Perhaps more bizarrely is a number of  works  featuring pregnant women and babies observed in a medical clinic.

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The main section  explores his  main output of the next nine years when he challenged artistic conventions about the nude in art.  Schiele does not turn away from the unpleasant side of  human experience, often reflecting the sordid underworld of pre-war Vienna.

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Schiele depicting his  models in unfamiliar poses and in many ways subverts the often blatant eroticism of conventional painting. Often short of money, he resorted to  an unusual variety of people for models including himself, his sister, male friends, his lovers and wife, female prostitutes  and a number of young female models.

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However Schiele’s bohemian lifestyle and art often affronted many elements of the Viennese public and in 1912 , Schiele was  imprisoned for two months for contravening public decency.  After this incident, Schiele’s  was probably slightly less extreme  and when the First World War began he had to combine his war duties with his art work.

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The last part of the exhibition  shows the  works from Schiele’s final years before his early death in 1918 from Spanish influenza, aged just 28.

Walking around the exhibition, Schiele’s work still the power to shock and unsettle, therefore the effect on conservative  Viennese society can only be imagined. However over the last one hundred years, his legacy has grown as other artists have explored similar themes. It is not just artists but modern advertising use aspects of the provocative model to indicate assertion rather than passivity.

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This exhibition will appeal to those who are interested  in how a young Austrian artist defied convention with considerable success  until  his untimely death. The themes in the exhibition may often be unsettling but Schiele confronts us  with human bodies literally in the raw, stripped  of classical pretensions.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like more information about the exhibition or to book tickets, visit the Courtauld Gallery website here

A ticket to the Egon Schiele exhibition gives you access to other parts of the Courtauld Gallery.

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here