It was a very cold day with breathtaking, eye blurring strong wind gusts, the first after an unusually long and mild autumn and it caught me unprepared. Then, there was a queue outside the Neue Galerie which, considering it was a weekday, also caught me unprepared. It was my second visit at the premises but the first one to the galleries, the last being a coffee break at the Vienna-inspired Café Sabarsky – for which there is a separate queue given its popularity which competes with that of the Galerie itself.
A staircase (or elevator) brings the visitor to the high-ceilinged reception rooms with their wood floors and wall panels, where Gustav Klimt’s Ladies await to welcome guests into their fin-de-siècle golden world of art nouveau, showing off their costumes, accessories, decorative objects and furniture. All this tends to feel a little cramped – this is a private mansion after all and the guests are eager and plenty – but it’s only a small inconvenience quickly brushed off once guests are made to feel at home by the charming Ladies.
Consisting of 12 paintings, 40 drawings, 40 works of decorative art, and vintage photographs of Klimt the exhibition is of a smaller scale compared to what we’re becoming used to in The City and certainly far smaller than the extensive collections I had the chance to experience in Vienna.
Having said that, I’m always surprised – with mixed feelings – when I finally get to see a work of art, like the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I for example, in the gallery that actually owns it and learn about its long trip home; a home sometimes to be found in the most unexpected places.
Photography is strictly not allowed in the galleries and hallways but here is a photo of the elegant black-and-white staircase, the only place I could take one away from the accusing eyes of the guards.
Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900–1918 runs through January 16th, 2017 and while, as already mentioned, small and in no way representative of Klimt’s work it will certainly be an hour – or two – spent in good company. After all, we can all use some Golden Age glamour this holiday season, cant we all?
November 21st, 2016