Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Gustav Klimt: First Retrospective in North America and only in Ottawa

Ottawa, Canada - June 13, 2001



 « Gustav Klimt première rétrospective en Amérique du Nord et une seule escale à Ottawa » 
Vienna's vibrant cultural climate at the turn of the 20th century owes much of its fame to Gustav Klimt. As the driving force behind art nouveau, a decorative art movement characterized by colourful and fanciful elements rich with symbolism, Klimt was a painter of beauty, of life, of sensuality, of hope. The National Gallery of Canada has organized a major retrospective, bringing together, for the first time in North America, many of Klimt's greatest masterpieces. Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making is an exceptional exhibition of 34 paintings and 87 drawings, and includes his famous portraits, landscapes and allegories. It is on view from 15 June to 16 September 2001 at the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa - the exhibition's only venue.

Gustav Klimt, Hope I (1903)
National Gallery of Canada
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was introduced to art through his father who was a gold engraver. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule and enjoyed considerable attention and financial reward for his work at the early stages of his career. By the late 1890s, Klimt's work had become more innovative and imaginative, more decorative and symbolic. This new approach created waves of controversy and harsh public criticism. Gustav Klimt is also known for his role as the first President of the Gustav Viennese Secession, an artists' organization, dedicated to the exhibition of the most progressive modern art of the time.

With the acquisition in 1970 of Klimt's Hope I (1903), the National Gallery of Canada found itself the happy possessor of the most important and provocative works by the artist in North America. While the painting has been reproduced countless times in monographs on Klimt and general works on fin-de-siècle Vienna, it has rarely been outside of Ottawa, the fragility of the canvas and the delicacy of the artist's technique discouraging travel abroad. As a pilgrimage piece, Hope I's magnitude and stature in Klimt's oeuvre is for the first time fully addressed in this retrospective exhibition.

Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making is organized by Dr. Colin B. Bailey, Chief Curator, The Frick Collection, New York and former Chief Curator, National Gallery of Canada. The exhibition charts Klimt's painted and graphic oeuvre over some 35 years, concentrating on all periods of the artist's career: from Ringstrasse historicist, to Secession stylist, to the hard-to-categorize naturalist. The exhibition catalogue, co-published by the National Gallery of Canada and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, is the most comprehensive survey of recent research on the artist to date. John Collins, Assistant Curator, National Gallery of Canada has written brilliant and comprehensive texts for each of the paintings in the exhibition, bringing numerous archival documents and photographs to publication for the first time.

Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making is presented with the generous support of AIM Funds Management, the Ottawa Citizen, Le Droit, CBC Television (Ottawa), La Télévision Radio-Canada and the Fairmont Château Laurier. It is also supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program.

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The exhibition catalogue is available at the Bookstore. The fully illustrated catalogue contains 238 pages
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