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Lot No. 1 -


Gustav Klimt [Cultural Heritage]


(Vienna 1862–1918)
“Altar des Dionysos”, 1886, study for the ceiling painting in the southern staircase (tympanum) of the Burgtheater (Novotny – Dobai no. 40, Weidinger no. 62, Natter no. 59), signed Gustav Klimt, oil on canvas, 32 x 158 cm, framed

This work is under cultural protection and an export from Austria will presumbly not be allowed.

All profits in support of Art for Future
Selected Works from the UniCredit Group

Two loan contracts are already in place for this work with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (October 2022 – January 2023) and the Belvedere in Vienna (February 2023 – June 2023).
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Rafael Schwarz at rafael.schwarz@dorotheum.at or +43 1 515 60-405.

Fritz Novotny/Johannes Dobai. Gustav Klimt, Verlag Galerie Welz, 1967,
p. 287, no. 35 (with ill.)
Alfred Weidinger, Gustav Klimt, Prestel Verlag, 2007, p. 245, no. 62 (with ill.)
Tobias G. Natter, Gustav Klimt. Sämtliche Gemälde, Taschen Verlag, Cologne 2012, no. 59

Exhibited:
Neue Galerie Landesmuseum Joanneum, Gedächtnis-Ausstellung aus Anlass des 100. Geburtstages von Gustav Klimt, Graz 1962, no. 1
Klimt und die Ringstraße. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna 2015
Klimt und die Antike. Erotische Begegnungen, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna 2017

Provenance:
Eduard Palmer (1843–1914), Vienna
Sale Dorotheum, Vienna, estate sale collection Palmer,
1 December 1915, lot 89
Sale Albert Kende, Vienna, 11 December 1918, lot 252 (?)
Sale Dorotheum, Vienna, 10 October 1929, lot 28
Sale Dorotheum, Vienna, 12 May 1933, lot 543 (?)
Dr. Franz Strafella (1891–1968), Graz, Schloß Oberandritz
Private Collection, Vienna
Acquired in the early 1970ies

Our thanks to to Dr. Tobias G.Natter for the numerous bibliographical references.

Literature:
N. N., VermischteNachrichten. Wien, in: Kunstchronik. Zeitschrift für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe, Leipzig, vol. 22 (1886/87), column 132
Alfred Nossig, Die künstlerische Ausschmückung des neuen Burgtheaters, in: Allgemeine Kunst-Chronik, Vienna, vol. 12 (1888), p. 1022–1028, esp. p. 1027
Carl Lützow, Das neue Burgtheater in Wien, in: Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst, Leipzig, vol. 24 (1889), p. 67
Emmerich Ranzoni, Das k. k. Hofburgtheater in Wien. Erbaut von Carl Freiherrn von Hasenauer, Vienna 1890, p. 5 and plate 15 „Ein Theil des Stiegenhauses im Flügeltracte gegen den Volksgarten“
Josef Bayer, Das K. K. Hofburgtheater als Bauwerk mit seinen Sculpturen und Bilderschmuck, in: Die Theater Wiens, vol. 3, ed. by Gesellschaft für vervielfältigende Kunst, 1894, p. 89
N. N., „Versteigerung des Nachlasses von Eduard Palmer im Dorotheum in Wien, 1.–6. Dezember 1915“, in: Der Kunstmarkt. Beilage zur Kunstchronik, Leipzig, vol. 13 (1915/16), no. 18 from 28 January 1916, p. 1
Fritz Novotny and Johannes Dobai: Gustav Klimt, Salzburg 1967 (2. überarbeitete Auflage 1975), p. 287
Christian M. Nebehay, Gustav Klimt. Dokumentation, Vienna 1969, p. 84–98
Gerbert Frodl, Begegnung im Theater. Hans Makart und Gustav Klimt, in: Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Galerie, Wien, vol. 22/23 (1978/79), no. 66/67: Klimt-Studien, p. 9–36,
esp. p. 28–29
Alice Strobl, Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen 1878–1903, catalogue raisonné vol. 1, Salzburg 1980, p. 55–57 and 64–65
Lisa Florman, Gustav Klimt and the precedent of ancient Greece“, in: The Art Bulletin, New York, vol. 72 (1990), no. 2, p. 310–326, esp. p. 315–316
Michaela Seiser, Die Künstler-Compagnie: Das Frühwerk Gustav Klimts, in: Alfred Weidinger (ed.), Gustav Klimt, Munich a.o. 2007, p. 11–39, esp. p. 32–35
Michaela Seiser, Dionysosaltar, in: Alfred Weidinger (ed.), Gustav Klimt, Munich a.o. 2007, p. 245
Christoph Brenner, Der Burgtheater Zyklus, in: Otmar Rychlik, Gustav Klimt, Franz Matsch und Ernst Klimt im Burgtheater. Mit einem Beitrag von Christoph Brenner, Vienna 2007, p. 31–55, esp. p. 42
Otmar Rychlik, Gustav Klimt, Franz Matsch und Ernst Klimt im Burgtheater. Mit einem Beitrag von Christoph Brenner, Vienna 2007, p. 95–104
Otmar Rychlik, Gustav Klimt. Das Ringstrassenwerk 1886–1896, Vienna 2007, esp. p. 31–40
Rainald Franz und Angelina Pötschner, Der Salonmaler: Frühe Werke – frühe Karriere, in: Tobias G. Natter (ed.), Gustav Klimt. Sämtliche Gemälde, Cologne 2012, p. 10–39, esp. p. 16
Markus Fellinger, Klimt, die Künstler-Compagnie und das Theater, in: Agnes Husslein and Alexander Klee (eds.), Klimt und die Ringstraße (exh. cat. Belvedere, Vienna), Vienna 2015, p. 35–48
Stephanie Auer, Gustav Klimt. Der Altar des Dionysos, in: Stella Rollig and Tobias G. Natter (eds.), Klimt und die Antike. Erotische Begegnungen, Munich a. o. 2017, p. 108–109

Tobias G. Natter

Boomtown Vienna in the 1880s: the theatre-loving city considered the new building for its Burgtheater a project of particular prestige. In 1886, a young Gustav Klimt – at just 24 years of age – was tasked with adorning the walls of the revered theatre. Together with Franz Matsch and his brother Ernst Klimt, he was to create a cycle of paintings in its two grand staircases, with imagery illustrating milestones in the development of European theatre.

A great deal is known about the individual phases of the project. The Imperial Building Commission convened on 20 October. The “protocol agreement” for that session notes that Klimt was hired, on the basis of painted sketches, to paint a work reflecting “the ancient theatre in Taormina” on the large middle section as well as other smaller scenes. The Commission also asked Klimt to submit a design for areas in the tympanum which had previously not been considered for decoration. He was free to choose the subject. This unusual decision could be explained by the especially challenging position and format of that particular wall space – a twelve-metre-long, but narrow arch.

The solution Klimt proposed in the study to be auctioned at Dorotheum was brilliant. At the centre of the image, beneath the high point of the arch, is an altar topped with a bust of Dionysus, the ancient god of fertility and wine. The ecstatic pagan events, ceremonies, and plays of the muses staged to worship him, are considered to be the origin of theatre. On the left-hand side is a kneeling young female nude arching her body towards the likeness of the god. She is a maenad, a companion of Dionysus; in her right hand she grips a thyrsus, a vine-covered staff associated with the god and his votaries. Reclining on the right-hand side of the altar is another female figure wrapped in fluttering white – a second servant of Dionysus. Exhausted from the “frenzy”, she holds a golden wreath of laurel inclined towards the god of wine.

Klimt developed the composition with heavy foreshortening – a perspective tool that suggests a staircase the viewer appears to be ascending. Hints of a temple appear in the background just beyond the terrace on which the altar scene is playing out; Klimt sketches its lines in the underpainting with fine pencil. In the left-hand corner is a pointed-eared satyr from the entourage of Dionysus, rendered here as a muscular male nude beating a hand drum. Klimt’s composition is both highly knowledgeable and masterfully executed; his painting technique switches confidently between fine pencil sketches, colour glazes, and lively turns to dynamic, impasto areas. The result is a tension-filled dynamic with a “deep blue Greek sky” (Nossig 1888) vaulting overhead.

The Commission approved the draft, and Klimt set to work producing the transfer drawings on cardboard, works which were discovered in the attic of the Burgtheater several years ago. They are now on view in the main foyer of the theatre.

The cardboard would be employed as part of a mixed-oil technique that would allow the artist to transfer the final image to marble stucco. Klimt made very few changes to the original image. One of few alterations made was to the reclining woman on the right. The final version shows her completely naked, bringing her even closer to Klimt’s “femme fatale” depictions. Another change the artist made can be seen in the figure of the nude boy rendered in light colours in the background on the left. He becomes a dark patinated bronze figure in the Greek Archaic style in the final version.

Klimt’s staircase paintings were greatly admired at the opening ceremony of the new theatre. Emperor Franz Joseph I awarded the artist the Golden Cross of Merit, and shortly afterwards he was commissioned to paint the staircase at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. As was already the case with the Burgtheater, it also became one of the most celebrated examples of European historicism, thanks to the authorship of Gustav Klimt.

It is not known when the preliminary design for the “Altar of Dionysus”, executed in oil on canvas, came into collector Eduard Palmer’s possession. Palmer was known to Klimt’s contemporaries as a banker and General Direktor of the Österreichische Länderbank and he was renowned for being financial advisor to the legendary actress Katharina Schratt. That position earned him the regard of the Emperor, who is said to have granted him repeated private audiences at Bad Ischl and Schönbrunn Palace.1 The painting was rarely lent for exhibitions; it was last loaned to the Lower Belvedere in 2017 as part of the “Klimt and Antiquity: Erotic Encounters” exhibition. The “Altar of Dionysus” featured as a highlight of the show.

1Roman Sandgruber, Traumzeit für Millionäre. Die 929 reichsten Wienerinnen und Wiener im Jahr 1910, Vienna a. o. 2013.

Specialist: Mag. Elke Königseder Mag. Elke Königseder
+43-1-515 60-358

elke.koenigseder@dorotheum.at

24.11.2020 - 16:00

Estimate: **
EUR 190,000.- to EUR 300,000.-

Gustav Klimt [Cultural Heritage]


(Vienna 1862–1918)
“Altar des Dionysos”, 1886, study for the ceiling painting in the southern staircase (tympanum) of the Burgtheater (Novotny – Dobai no. 40, Weidinger no. 62, Natter no. 59), signed Gustav Klimt, oil on canvas, 32 x 158 cm, framed

This work is under cultural protection and an export from Austria will presumbly not be allowed.

All profits in support of Art for Future
Selected Works from the UniCredit Group

Two loan contracts are already in place for this work with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (October 2022 – January 2023) and the Belvedere in Vienna (February 2023 – June 2023).
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Rafael Schwarz at rafael.schwarz@dorotheum.at or +43 1 515 60-405.

Fritz Novotny/Johannes Dobai. Gustav Klimt, Verlag Galerie Welz, 1967,
p. 287, no. 35 (with ill.)
Alfred Weidinger, Gustav Klimt, Prestel Verlag, 2007, p. 245, no. 62 (with ill.)
Tobias G. Natter, Gustav Klimt. Sämtliche Gemälde, Taschen Verlag, Cologne 2012, no. 59

Exhibited:
Neue Galerie Landesmuseum Joanneum, Gedächtnis-Ausstellung aus Anlass des 100. Geburtstages von Gustav Klimt, Graz 1962, no. 1
Klimt und die Ringstraße. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna 2015
Klimt und die Antike. Erotische Begegnungen, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna 2017

Provenance:
Eduard Palmer (1843–1914), Vienna
Sale Dorotheum, Vienna, estate sale collection Palmer,
1 December 1915, lot 89
Sale Albert Kende, Vienna, 11 December 1918, lot 252 (?)
Sale Dorotheum, Vienna, 10 October 1929, lot 28
Sale Dorotheum, Vienna, 12 May 1933, lot 543 (?)
Dr. Franz Strafella (1891–1968), Graz, Schloß Oberandritz
Private Collection, Vienna
Acquired in the early 1970ies

Our thanks to to Dr. Tobias G.Natter for the numerous bibliographical references.

Literature:
N. N., VermischteNachrichten. Wien, in: Kunstchronik. Zeitschrift für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe, Leipzig, vol. 22 (1886/87), column 132
Alfred Nossig, Die künstlerische Ausschmückung des neuen Burgtheaters, in: Allgemeine Kunst-Chronik, Vienna, vol. 12 (1888), p. 1022–1028, esp. p. 1027
Carl Lützow, Das neue Burgtheater in Wien, in: Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst, Leipzig, vol. 24 (1889), p. 67
Emmerich Ranzoni, Das k. k. Hofburgtheater in Wien. Erbaut von Carl Freiherrn von Hasenauer, Vienna 1890, p. 5 and plate 15 „Ein Theil des Stiegenhauses im Flügeltracte gegen den Volksgarten“
Josef Bayer, Das K. K. Hofburgtheater als Bauwerk mit seinen Sculpturen und Bilderschmuck, in: Die Theater Wiens, vol. 3, ed. by Gesellschaft für vervielfältigende Kunst, 1894, p. 89
N. N., „Versteigerung des Nachlasses von Eduard Palmer im Dorotheum in Wien, 1.–6. Dezember 1915“, in: Der Kunstmarkt. Beilage zur Kunstchronik, Leipzig, vol. 13 (1915/16), no. 18 from 28 January 1916, p. 1
Fritz Novotny and Johannes Dobai: Gustav Klimt, Salzburg 1967 (2. überarbeitete Auflage 1975), p. 287
Christian M. Nebehay, Gustav Klimt. Dokumentation, Vienna 1969, p. 84–98
Gerbert Frodl, Begegnung im Theater. Hans Makart und Gustav Klimt, in: Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Galerie, Wien, vol. 22/23 (1978/79), no. 66/67: Klimt-Studien, p. 9–36,
esp. p. 28–29
Alice Strobl, Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen 1878–1903, catalogue raisonné vol. 1, Salzburg 1980, p. 55–57 and 64–65
Lisa Florman, Gustav Klimt and the precedent of ancient Greece“, in: The Art Bulletin, New York, vol. 72 (1990), no. 2, p. 310–326, esp. p. 315–316
Michaela Seiser, Die Künstler-Compagnie: Das Frühwerk Gustav Klimts, in: Alfred Weidinger (ed.), Gustav Klimt, Munich a.o. 2007, p. 11–39, esp. p. 32–35
Michaela Seiser, Dionysosaltar, in: Alfred Weidinger (ed.), Gustav Klimt, Munich a.o. 2007, p. 245
Christoph Brenner, Der Burgtheater Zyklus, in: Otmar Rychlik, Gustav Klimt, Franz Matsch und Ernst Klimt im Burgtheater. Mit einem Beitrag von Christoph Brenner, Vienna 2007, p. 31–55, esp. p. 42
Otmar Rychlik, Gustav Klimt, Franz Matsch und Ernst Klimt im Burgtheater. Mit einem Beitrag von Christoph Brenner, Vienna 2007, p. 95–104
Otmar Rychlik, Gustav Klimt. Das Ringstrassenwerk 1886–1896, Vienna 2007, esp. p. 31–40
Rainald Franz und Angelina Pötschner, Der Salonmaler: Frühe Werke – frühe Karriere, in: Tobias G. Natter (ed.), Gustav Klimt. Sämtliche Gemälde, Cologne 2012, p. 10–39, esp. p. 16
Markus Fellinger, Klimt, die Künstler-Compagnie und das Theater, in: Agnes Husslein and Alexander Klee (eds.), Klimt und die Ringstraße (exh. cat. Belvedere, Vienna), Vienna 2015, p. 35–48
Stephanie Auer, Gustav Klimt. Der Altar des Dionysos, in: Stella Rollig and Tobias G. Natter (eds.), Klimt und die Antike. Erotische Begegnungen, Munich a. o. 2017, p. 108–109

Tobias G. Natter

Boomtown Vienna in the 1880s: the theatre-loving city considered the new building for its Burgtheater a project of particular prestige. In 1886, a young Gustav Klimt – at just 24 years of age – was tasked with adorning the walls of the revered theatre. Together with Franz Matsch and his brother Ernst Klimt, he was to create a cycle of paintings in its two grand staircases, with imagery illustrating milestones in the development of European theatre.

A great deal is known about the individual phases of the project. The Imperial Building Commission convened on 20 October. The “protocol agreement” for that session notes that Klimt was hired, on the basis of painted sketches, to paint a work reflecting “the ancient theatre in Taormina” on the large middle section as well as other smaller scenes. The Commission also asked Klimt to submit a design for areas in the tympanum which had previously not been considered for decoration. He was free to choose the subject. This unusual decision could be explained by the especially challenging position and format of that particular wall space – a twelve-metre-long, but narrow arch.

The solution Klimt proposed in the study to be auctioned at Dorotheum was brilliant. At the centre of the image, beneath the high point of the arch, is an altar topped with a bust of Dionysus, the ancient god of fertility and wine. The ecstatic pagan events, ceremonies, and plays of the muses staged to worship him, are considered to be the origin of theatre. On the left-hand side is a kneeling young female nude arching her body towards the likeness of the god. She is a maenad, a companion of Dionysus; in her right hand she grips a thyrsus, a vine-covered staff associated with the god and his votaries. Reclining on the right-hand side of the altar is another female figure wrapped in fluttering white – a second servant of Dionysus. Exhausted from the “frenzy”, she holds a golden wreath of laurel inclined towards the god of wine.

Klimt developed the composition with heavy foreshortening – a perspective tool that suggests a staircase the viewer appears to be ascending. Hints of a temple appear in the background just beyond the terrace on which the altar scene is playing out; Klimt sketches its lines in the underpainting with fine pencil. In the left-hand corner is a pointed-eared satyr from the entourage of Dionysus, rendered here as a muscular male nude beating a hand drum. Klimt’s composition is both highly knowledgeable and masterfully executed; his painting technique switches confidently between fine pencil sketches, colour glazes, and lively turns to dynamic, impasto areas. The result is a tension-filled dynamic with a “deep blue Greek sky” (Nossig 1888) vaulting overhead.

The Commission approved the draft, and Klimt set to work producing the transfer drawings on cardboard, works which were discovered in the attic of the Burgtheater several years ago. They are now on view in the main foyer of the theatre.

The cardboard would be employed as part of a mixed-oil technique that would allow the artist to transfer the final image to marble stucco. Klimt made very few changes to the original image. One of few alterations made was to the reclining woman on the right. The final version shows her completely naked, bringing her even closer to Klimt’s “femme fatale” depictions. Another change the artist made can be seen in the figure of the nude boy rendered in light colours in the background on the left. He becomes a dark patinated bronze figure in the Greek Archaic style in the final version.

Klimt’s staircase paintings were greatly admired at the opening ceremony of the new theatre. Emperor Franz Joseph I awarded the artist the Golden Cross of Merit, and shortly afterwards he was commissioned to paint the staircase at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. As was already the case with the Burgtheater, it also became one of the most celebrated examples of European historicism, thanks to the authorship of Gustav Klimt.

It is not known when the preliminary design for the “Altar of Dionysus”, executed in oil on canvas, came into collector Eduard Palmer’s possession. Palmer was known to Klimt’s contemporaries as a banker and General Direktor of the Österreichische Länderbank and he was renowned for being financial advisor to the legendary actress Katharina Schratt. That position earned him the regard of the Emperor, who is said to have granted him repeated private audiences at Bad Ischl and Schönbrunn Palace.1 The painting was rarely lent for exhibitions; it was last loaned to the Lower Belvedere in 2017 as part of the “Klimt and Antiquity: Erotic Encounters” exhibition. The “Altar of Dionysus” featured as a highlight of the show.

1Roman Sandgruber, Traumzeit für Millionäre. Die 929 reichsten Wienerinnen und Wiener im Jahr 1910, Vienna a. o. 2013.

Specialist: Mag. Elke Königseder Mag. Elke Königseder
+43-1-515 60-358

elke.koenigseder@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm
kundendienst@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 200
Auction: Modern Art
Date: 24.11.2020 - 16:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: online


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

It is not possible to turn in online buying orders anymore. The auction is in preparation or has been executed already.