Das Werk: Gustav Klimt and Austrian pottery side by side in New York

Barneby's

July 5, 2017

Opening this month at New York's Jason Jacques Gallery is an exhibition of both rare collotype prints by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt alongside Austrian Art pottery from the late 19th through early 20th centuries. At the center of the exhibition are color prints from Klimt’s Das Werk series, which includes some of the artist’s most iconic masterpieces, such as The Kiss, Judith I, and Emilie Flöge.

In 1908, the artist and Galerie Miethke, Vienna, planned the publication of collotypes under the title Das Werk Gustav Klimts, with the aim to distribute Klimt's work to selected collectors and clients.

From 1908 to 1914, Klimt personally supervised the 50-print enterprise, which reproduced with immense accuracy Klimt's most important paintings from 1898 to 1913. Klimt designed a unique signet for each print, which was placed beneath the image and impressed in gold ink. Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria was the first to own the initial installment.

Jason Jacques will present three collotypes that were branded too erotic and never shown in the original exhibition at Galerie Miethke. The pieces were originally commissioned to decorate the Great Hall at the University of Vienna and were destroyed during World War II. Except for a few photographs and preparatory sketches, these prints are the only remaining evidence of the original mural paintings.

For this exceptional display of Klimt's work, Jason Jacques have curated a selection of important Austrian ceramics from the turn of the 20th century, including masterworks from the ceramic workshop of Riessner, Stellmacher, and Kessel, known as Amphora.

The pottery pieces date from 1894 to 1904 and are some of the best examples produced during that period, featuring fauna and flora inspired designs, simulated jewels, and Klimt-inspired compositions. Located in Turn Teplitz, Austria (now part of the Czech Republic), Amphora was founded in the 1890s and employed some of the most talented ceramists of the period, including Alfred Stellmacher, Eduard Stellmacher, and Paul Dachsel. Their exceptional abilities as skilled technicians and designers contributed to the development of a unique genre of art pottery associated with the Jugendstil movement.

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