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GUSTAV KLIMT Umarmen Akte.
Pencil on thin cream wove paper, 1908. 545x370 mm; 21 3/8x14 1/2 inches. Signed in pencil, lower left recto.
Ex-collection Galerie St. Etienne, New York; private collection.
Exhibited Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA, 2002.
Klimt (1862-1918), the leader of the Vienna Secession movement, rejected the academic style that was prevalent in Austria at the turn of the century. His artwork often incorporated undulating contour lines and stylized forms as well as heavy ornamentation and symbolism. This individual expression was lauded by Vienna's cultural circles in the last decade of the 19th century and the early 1900s and served as a significant influence on Klimt's younger contemporaries.
Among Klimt's most recognizable masterworks is his oil and gold leaf painting The Kiss (1908-09), depicting an embracing couple similar to the figures in the current work and dating from the same time. In both compositions, Klimt succeeded in depicting humanity at its most vulnerable, in the height of passion. Many works in Klimt's oeuvre, especially his drawings, address the female form with this clear eroticism.