- Gustav Klimt
LIEGENDER HALBAKT MIT GESPREIZTEN BEINEN
(RECLINING SEMI-NUDE WITH SPREAD LEGS)
stamped with the Nachlass mark (lower right)
- pencil on paper
Estate of the artist
Richard Teschner, Vienna (probably acquired from the above; until 1948)
Acquired from the estate of the above by the present owner in 1953
Alice Strobl, Gustav Klimt, Die Zeichnungen 1912-1918, Salzburg, 1984, no. 3064, illustrated p. 229
Executed circa 1917-18, Liegender Halbakt mit gespreizten Beinen is a powerful and arresting image of a female semi-nude, which belongs to a series of studies for the unfinished painting Die Braut (Weidinger no. 253, on loan to the Österreichische Galerie, Vienna) from circa 1917-18. In contrast to Klimt's earlier renditions of the female nude, the present depiction bears signs of his artistic sophistication and maturity of style. Explicitly erotic, without any assigned narrative, the model is presented as the viewer's object of desire. At the same time, the sitter's innocent pose reflects the sharpness of the artist's eye as well as his natural sense of draughtsmanship. In its detailed sensual execution the figure bears an almost sculpted quality, reminiscent of Rodin (fig. 1). Klimt was fascinated by the artist's immaculate attention to detail and his brilliant understanding of human anatomy.
They first met in Vienna in 1902, where Rodin's second largest exhibition of his sculptures and drawings had been presented. Partly due to Klimt's admiration for the artist, Rodin was also elected a corresponding member of the exhibitions at the Secession and he participated at the very first Secession show in 1898 with no fewer than twelve of his sculptures on display.