E-mail This Page

Klimt Landscape Exhibition Highlights the Clark's Summer of Viennese Art and Architecture

For Immediate Release

April 25, 2002

The art and architecture of one of Europe's great cities will be the focus of a series of exhibitions at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in summer 2002. The centerpiece of the celebration will be the first exhibition devoted to the landscapes of Viennese Symbolist Gustav Klimt. Gustav Klimt Landscapes, on view June 16 through September 2, will be accompanied by three focused exhibitions that explore the deep cultural change that Vienna experienced in the 18th and 19th centuries:

  • Bernardo Bellotto's cityscapes of Vienna from 1758 to 1761 will show the old city at the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  • Rarely seen furniture and silver created by Josef Hoffmann, whose work influenced the American Arts and Crafts movement, will represent innovative Secessionist design.
  • An exhibition of architect Otto Wagner's work will focus on the elaborate watercolor drawings and gilded model for the proposed but never-built Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

The Clark is the only North American venue for these exhibitions. Gustav Klimt Landscapes will later travel to the Galerie Belvedere, Vienna from October 23, 2002 to February 23, 2003.

"There are few places in the world where intellectual life, history, and philosophy come together with the visual and performing arts in so harmonious and engaging a way as they have in Vienna over the centuries," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark Art Institute. "These four exhibitions give us a rare opportunity to take a broad look at Viennese art and culture."

Gustav Klimt Landscapes

The landscapes of the great Viennese Symbolist Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) are as sensuous and lush as the female portraits for which he is best known, yet they are virtually unknown outside of Austria. Gustav Klimt Landsapes presents Klimt's colorful, poetic, and modern landscape paintings to North American audiences for the first time, demonstrating Klimt's range and establishing him as a landscapist of exceptional daring. Created from the 1890s until the artist's death in 1918, large-scale landscapes such Roses Under the Trees (c. 1905, Musée d'Orsay), Upper Austrian Farmhouse (1911, Galerie Belvedere), and Garden Landscape with Hilltop (1916, Kunsthaus Zug/Foundation Kamm Collection, Switzerland), depict the orchards, woods, gardens, and mountains of his home. The rarely seen works reflect how Klimt combined influences from Japanese art, Austrian landscape traditions, the work of Van Gogh and Cézanne, and the unique modernism that made him the most dominant Viennese artist of his day to create something entirely new and radical.

Josef Hoffmann: Homes of the Wittgensteins

Josef Hoffmann (1879-1953) was a leading figure in Vienna's art revival. Born in Moravia in 1870, Hoffmann studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts under Carl von Hasenauer and Otto Wagner. He founded the influential Wiener Werkstatte and was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, and his decorative arts greatly influenced the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States in the early 20th century. This exhibition recreates the aesthetic atmosphere of turn-of-the-century Vienna through Hoffmann's work commissioned by the family of Karl Wittgenstein from the late 1880s to 1905. Objects from the Wittgenstein homes include furnitureand silver, such as a 1903 sugar bowl, a silver and carelian pepper shaker, and a black-stained oak writing desk. Also on view will be some 55 design drawings by Hoffmann. The support of the influential industrialist, whose family included philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and pianist Paul Wittgenstein, allowed Hoffmann to develop his novel design ideas.

Otto Wagner: The Academy of Fine Arts

Otto Wagner (1841-1918) was the leading architect of late imperial Vienna, creating such famous buildings as the Landerbank, the Majolica House, and the Post Office Savings Bank. In 1898, he proposed a design for a new Academy of Fine Arts, which, though never built, was among the most important works of his career. This exhibition will include Wagner's elaborate presentation watercolors and drawings for the opulent design, as well as a three-foot-high, three-dimensional gilded model presented to the Emperor Franz Joseph. Because Wagner pursued the project over the course of two decades, the designs demonstrate the evolution of his style through his career.

Bernardo Bellotto: Views of Imperial Vienna

Bernardo Bellotto's (1721-1780) detailed views of Vienna from the 1750s and 1760s show scenes of rococo Vienna's streets, parks, and palaces. These paintings were commissioned by Empress Marie Theresa and are now among the great treasures of the city's Kunsthistoriches Museum. The paintings in this exhibition reveal the diversity and vitality of one of Europe's most important capitals. View of Vienna from the Belvedere depicts Vienna from the elevated grounds of the Belvedere palace, while The Freyung, Vienna, from the Northwest, shows inner city streets.

The Vienna Project

The Clark's Vienna exhibitions are part of "The Vienna Project," a collaboration of eleven leading Berkshire cultural attractions during the summer and fall of 2002. Programs range from the age of Mozart to the present and include art exhibitions, music, theater, opera, and film. Participating organizations are: the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, MASS MoCA, Tanglewood, Shakespeare & Company, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Opera, the Berkshire Museum, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Williams College Museum of Art, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and the Berkshire Choral Festival. For more information visit www.berkshirearts.org. The wide range and quality of cultural organizations in Berkshire County-which rivals that of a major city-as well as the area's scenic beauty and outdoor recreation make the Berkshires "America's Premier Cultural Resort." For information on lodging, dining, and travel visit www.berkshires.org or call 1-800-237-5747.

The Clark

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is one of the country's foremost art museums and also a dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism. The Clark's exceptional collections of Old Master, Impressionist, and 19th-century American art on display in the museum's intimate galleries are enhanced by the beauty of its 140-acre setting in the Berkshires. The Clark is also recognized for its special exhibitions, such as the recent Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, which concurrently advance critical thought and generate popular interest in the arts.

The Institute is one of only a few art museums in the U.S. that is also a major research and academic center, with an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia, and an important art research library. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation's leading M.A. programs in art history, which has been part of the professional development of a significant number of directors of art museums, curators, and scholars. The Clark's Fellows and conference programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world to pursue research and share new scholarship.  The Institute encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world. The Clark also is home to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, which serves more than 50 institutions in the region and also provides professional training in art conservation.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

Return to the previous page