Lot 25A
  • 25A

Gustav Klimt

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  • Gustav Klimt

  • Signed GUSTAV KLIMT (lower left)

  • Oil on canvas


Jenny Steiner, Vienna

Sale: Dorotheum, Vienna, 5th March 1940, lot 223

Emma Danzinger, Vienna (on loan to the Österreichische Galerie from 1963)

Österreichische Galerie, Vienna (a bequest from the above in 1993)

Restituted to the heirs of Jenny Steiner

Private Collection, Europe


Munich, Haus der Kunst, Europäische Kunst der Jahrhundertwende, 1964, no. 236 (as dating circa 1916)

Vienna, Secession, Künstlerhaus und Historisches Museum der Stadt, Wien um 1900. Malerei und Plastik. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle. Druckgraphik – Buch – Plakat. Kunstgewerbe, 1964, no. 55 (as dating circa 1917-18)

New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, 1965, no. 16 (as dating from circa 1912-14)

London, Marlborough Fine Art Ltd., Gustav Klimt. Paintings and Drawings, 1965, no. 5 (as datingfrom  circa 1912-14)

Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Klimt - Kokoschka - Schiele, Un Sueno Vienés (1898-1918), 1995, no. 7



Fritz Novotny, Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Galerie, Vienna, 1963, vol. 7, no. 51

Fritz Novotny and Johannes Dobai, Gustav Klimt, Salzburg, 1975, no. 189, illustrated p. 360

Johannes Dobai, L’opera completa di Klimt, Milan, 1978, no. 177, illustrated p. 108

Johannes Dobai, Gustav Klimt Landscapes, London, 1988, illustrated pl. 42

Gerbert Frodl, Klimt, London, 1992, no. 1, illustrated p. 155

Ihre Vereinsbank, Gegenwelten Gustav Klimt – Kunstlerleben im Fin de Siècle, Munich, 1996, illustrated p. 91

Stephan Koja, ed., Gustav Klimt: Landscapes, Munich, Berlin, London, New York, 2002, illustrated pl. 49

Catalogue Note

Painted circa 1914, this vibrant landscape is one of Klimt’s late masterpieces, evoking his enduring fascination with the Attersee in the heart of Austria’s Salzkammergut region.  From 1908 to 1912 Klimt and his muse Emilie Flöge with her family spent the summer months in Villa Oleander in Kammerl near Kammer am Attersee. In 1913, however, they stayed on Lake Garda, because the house was rented to other guests. Since it was not available the following year Klimt decided to spend the summer months in Weissenbach on the south shore of Attersee where a relative of the Flöge sisters lived. The Flöge sisters, their mother Barbara, and the young Helen Klimt moved into the house next door to their relative, but Klimt found lodgings in the forester’s house on the outskirts at the entrance to the Weissenbach valley. The forester’s house where Klimt stayed was chosen twice as the subject of a painting, once for Forsthaus in Weissenbach am Attersee, 1914 (Neue Galerie, New York) and once for the present work.

Klimt builds up his vision of the house and its gardens through a bold mosaic of tessellated colors, interspersed with highlights of reds and orange-yellows. The effect is one of a flattening-out of the landscape, creating a richly textured surface that nevertheless retains great depth in its subtle and delicate modulation of color. In this surface patterning, Klimt’s Landhaus am Attersee is perhaps inspired by the folk tapestry and stained glass window techniques in which German and Austrian artists took a keen interest in the first decades of the twentieth century.

In his discussion of the stylistic influences on Klimt Stephan Koja refers to the probable influence of the strongly graphic style of Egon Schiele on Forsthaus in Weissenbach am Attersee and observes: "In his painting Villa on the Attersee, Klimt again resorts to this drawing technique by outlining the objects in black, and in the precise way he depicts the structure of the objects, such as the shingles on the roof or the flowers on the shrubs. This carpet-like structure, which uniformly covers the surface of the painting with colored speckles, makes the objects appear incorporeal. However, the various green, yellow, and red tones provide coloristic unanimity, and the evenness of the colored texture gives an impression of complete harmony. At the edges of the picture, two dark bushes, truncated by the borders, provide an effective support for the composition. The tranquil separation, in horizontal zones, is related to the backgrounds of the portraits such as Adele Bloch-Bauer 11 or Mäda Primavesi and shows how Klimt was able to use one creative approach in various genres" (Stephan Koja, ed., Gustav Klimt: Landscapes, Munich, Berlin, London, New York, 2002, p.126).

Among Klimt’s mature landscapes, the views of the Attersee are perhaps some of his most assured and compelling. In the present work, the sumptuous palette and the jewel-like surface reflect an opulent mood, reminiscent of the decorative tendency displayed in earlier landscapes such as Field of Poppies from 1907 (see fig. 2). However, in that work the horizon anchors the perspective with a narrow band of sky framing the upper edge of the composition, while in Landhaus am Attersee the scene rises like a vertical wall of natural splendor and artifact. 

Klimt’s landscapes occupy a unique place within his oeuvre and are among his most significant accomplishments. In all, they account for approximately one-quarter of his painted work. In contrast to his more meticulously planned figure compositions, for which he generally executed large groups of initial pencil studies, there are scarcely any preparatory studies for the landscapes. As such they bear witness to Klimt’s most direct response to the natural world, and are his most private and intimate works in oil. He sought to capture the purity of the natural world and its splendors of color, heightened by the richness and texture of the surface. Indeed, some of the more contemplative landscapes, such as the present work, evoke moods that question the very nature of visual perception.

Alessandra Comini writes of Klimt’s enduring delight in nature: ‘For Klimt the plenitude of nature offered a cyclic variety of stimuli and sensations. Like a honey-bee, the Austrian artist collected and stored in multifaceted display a precious hoard of sense impressions… Schnitzler had stated that the natural state is chaos. Freud explored the symbolism of dreams and suggested a rational explanation for the irrational. Klimt faced the plurality of those ‘other appearances’ and sought to paint the manifest-to-him content of a latent world force. Seizing upon the biological principle in nature, he studded his environments as he had his portraits with overlapping symbols of fertility and growth’ (A. Comini, op. cit., p. 27).

Klimt’s characteristic use of the square-format canvas for his major landscapes imbues them with a strong sense of proportion and harmony, allowing them to attain the quality of an object of meditation as well as of a subjective view of nature. Discussing the artist’s development of this square format, Johannes Dobai writes: ‘Klimt had been using this shape of picture, suggesting as it does a sense of quiet, since 1898… preferring it for his figurative compositions and for his Symbolist paintings and portraits too. He did not, however, use it nearly as consistently in these works as he did in his landscapes, which, from then on, were invariably to be square in format. All his landscapes have something in common, which seems to be symbolised by their shape, regardless of any stylistic variation, all the landscapes are made fundamentally comprehensible as objects of meditation by means of this simple device’ (J. Dobai, op. cit., p. 11). In its richness of vision and expansiveness of form; in its mood of seductive repose and timeless tranquillity, despite the ineluctable advance of history beyond the harmony of the scene; and in its central importance as one of the artist’s most inspired views of the Attersee, Landhaus am Attersee is an undisputed masterpiece by Klimt.


Fig. 1, Gustav Klimt, Bauerngarten mit Sonnenblumen, circa 1905-06, oil on canvas, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna

Fig. 2, Gustav Klimt, Mohnwiese, 1907, oil on canvas, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna

Fig. 3, Gustav Klimt, Schloss Kammer am Attersee III, 1910, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna

Fig. 4, Gustav Klimt, Unterach am Attersee, 1915, oil on canvas, Residenzgalerie, Salzburg

Fig. 5, Gustav Klimt, Litzlbergkeller am Attersee, 1915-1916, oil on canvas, Private Collection, Vienna

Fig. 6, Gustav Klimt, Häuser in Unterach am Attersee, circa 1916, oil on canvas, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna