May 10, 2004 - Sale 2006

Sale 2006 - Lot 9

Price Realized: $ 29,900
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 40,000
371/4x121/2 inches. A. Berger, Vienna.
Condition A-: minor wrinkles and creasing in top and bottom margins; light staining in top margin. Paper.
Klimt, founder and leader of the Vienna Secession movement, was chosen to design the poster for the group's first exhibition in 1898. His depiction of Athena observing a nude Theseus fighting the Minotaur generated such a storm of controversy, that the artist had to alter the image, covering Theseus' nakedness. Also in 1898, Klimt produced a painting of Pallas Athena that became symbolic of the entire Secession movement. Since the mid 1890s Athena had been an emblem of the Munich Secession, but with Klimt's painting she became the universal emblem of the group. For this 1903 poster advertising a major retrospective exhibition of his own work, Klimt graphically reworks the head of Athena as he first represented her in his famous painting. The exhibition featured some of the artist's most important paintings, such as his great Beethoven Frieze, and the unfinished Jurisprudence, Philosophy, Medicine--for the first time the three controversial faculty pictures could be seen together. Commissioned by Austria's Ministry of Culture to adorn the ceiling of the Great Hall at the University of Vienna, these three paintings were considered so scandalous that Klimt was removed from consideration for the project. Klimt, whose paintings are notable for their color, lush quality, patterns and luxury, has taken a fascinating divergence here. As Denscher notes "The center of the poster is dominated by a provocatively blank space. The typography resembles that from Klimt's first poster [1898], but the Antiqua has been developed further into a more elegant style, which is accentuated by the gray printing on the white paper." (Denscher p. 44). Denscher p. 44.