My Trip to Vienna to see Gustav Klimt's Masterpieces

Klimt, Schiele, Palaces, Art Noveau Heaven... Vienna was perfection.

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We had the most amazing time visiting the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria! On our travels we attended many museums including the Belvedere Palace to see the master works of my favorite artist Gustav Klimt.

We saw the famous "Der Kuss" in person. I cried. I went over and stared at the tiny "Girlfriends or Watersnakes II" for over thirty minutes. I got in trouble for taking photos. I didn't care, I had flown half way around the world to see these paintings. As a fairly expensive trip, I had sold my own masterpiece "Netted by the Dancer's Touch" 60 x 48, to cover part of the trip. I only parted with it - so I could travel to Vienna.... it was so worth it. Vienna is the birth place of Art Nouveau, and the center of Europe, a crossroads of so much history. We visited the Session building, and viewed Klimt's Beethoven Frieze. Breathtaking. Each museum we visited had more Klimts and Egon Schiele works... every store was filled with their work for sale. It was truly Klimt heaven!

 "Girlfriends" by Gustav Klimt - this is my favorite painting of all time.

"Girlfriends" by Gustav Klimt - this is my favorite painting of all time.

 Heather Shirin in front of "Death and Life" by Gustav Klimt at the Leopold Museum, Vienna Austria

Heather Shirin in front of "Death and Life" by Gustav Klimt at the Leopold Museum, Vienna Austria

"Gustav Klimt’s large painting Death and Life, created in 1910, features not a personal death but rather merely an allegorical Grim Reaper who gazes at “life” with a malicious grin. This “life” is comprised of all generations: every age group is represented, from the baby to the grandmother, in this depiction of the never-ending circle of life. Death may be able to swipe individuals from life, but life itself, humanity as a whole, will always elude his grasp. The circle of life likewise repeats itself in the diverse, wonderful, pastel-coloured circular ornaments which adorn life like a garland. Gustav Klimt described this painting, which was honoured with a first prize at the 1911 International Art Exhibition in Rome, as his most important figurative work. Even so, he seems to suddenly no longer have been satisfied with this version in 1915, for he then began making changes to the painting—which had been framed for long by that time. The background, reportedly once gold-coloured, was made grey, and both death and life were given further ornaments. Standing before the original and examining the left interior edge of Josef Hoffmann’s frame for the painting, one can still discern traces of the subsequent over-painting, which was done by Klimt himself."

Egon Schiele

 Egon Schile, self portrait, Leopold Museum, Vienna Austria

Egon Schile, self portrait, Leopold Museum, Vienna Austria

"In 1907, Schiele sought out Gustav Klimt, who generously mentored younger artists. Klimt took a particular interest in the young Schiele, buying his drawings, offering to exchange them for some of his own, arranging models for him and introducing him to potential patrons. He also introduced Schiele to the Wiener Werkstätte, the arts and crafts workshop connected with the Secession. In 1908 Schiele had his first exhibition, in Klosterneuburg. Schiele left the Academy in 1909, after completing his third year, and founded the Neukunstgruppe ("New Art Group") with other dissatisfied students.

Klimt invited Schiele to exhibit some of his work at the 1909 Vienna Kunstschau, where he encountered the work of Edvard MunchJan Toorop, and Vincent van Gogh among others. Once free of the constraints of the Academy's conventions, Schiele began to explore not only the human form, but also human sexuality. At the time, many found the explicitness of his works disturbing."