1918 was a seismic year in Vienna. As the Austro-Hungarian Empire crumbled, the deaths of its two foremost artists brought about the end of an intense period of creative vitality that had blazed briefly but brilliantly across the city’s bohemian swirl. One was the radical Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt; the other the young, scandalous and prodigiously talented Egon Schiele.
As a number of key drawings in this exhibition will reveal, influence travelled in both directions between these two friendly rivals. Early sketches show how Schiele, in his own words, first “went by way of Klimt,” before the expressive power and searing directness of his mature work in turn left a mark on his older colleague. Both revelled in the immediacy of drawing, an ideal medium for exploring new ideas of modernity, subjectivity and the erotic.
Klimt / Schiele: Drawings is a unique opportunity to see some of the 20th century’s most important works on paper – amongst them Klimt’s sketches for his seminal Beethoven Frieze, and unflinching self-portraits by Schiele – which due to their delicacy will not see the light of day again for many years. In around 100 portraits, landscapes, nudes and erotic drawings, prepare to encounter these two icons of Modernism at their most raw and revealing.