“…I found a woman with red hair leaning against a slick dark tree trunk. It elicited a lecture on CONTRAST.
“…I saw the work of Klimt..the cartoons…They were only long rolls of paper fixed to the wall, but they were filled with light, like crystal chandeliers. I stepped very close to look at the brushstrokes. The paint slid across the paper in rivers and trickled down in rivulets.”
The artists studio “…had taped things to the walls: a color wheel, newspaper clippings about an actress named Limova from Moscow who had toured the European capital, engravings of buildings in Rome that had obviously been ripped from books, postcards, sketches of cubes and cylinders with measurements penciled in beside them.
Porträt der Eugenia (Mäda) Primavesi (1912)
“I gazed across the room at a pile of chairs in the corner next to the window. They were upside down and on their sides and stacked one on top of the other, the ones near the top dangling precariously. In the gray light they cast no shadow. It was like a pile of bones from the slaughterhouse. I tried to memorize the parallel lines and right angles and triangles and various tones of dark and light. Slowly the shapes sharpened into distinct pieces. I began to see each individual chair. It was a haphazard collection, begged and borrowed from friends and relatives: a stool painted white, a warped rocking chair, a tattered sofa….”
Moving on… to the fabulous mural Medicine designed by Gustav Klimt for the Great Hall of Vienna University. It was destroyed by fire in the Immendorf Palace in 1945, so only copies are now left. It was originally criticised for being a “lewd” representation of the Goddess, who is an allegory for Medicine.
Medicine, University Hall
… Alone on the left side was a nude woman, arms outstretched, who floated in space, held aloft by a watery substance, like amniotic fluid. Here was the obscene girl. Her pelvis was tilted forward in a suggestive way. All of the figures seemed to be suspended in the same viscous liquid. They were clumped on the left side of the painting like a pile of corpses. Some were in fact skeletons, shrouded in the long hair of hers. Pregnant woman, old men; all of humanity was included, suffering, tormented, dying.
It was nightmarish painting….it’s a philosophical work.
In the center her name is…HYGEIA, the goddess of health.
….” In Gustav’s allegory of medicine, Hygeia was in the foreground, looking like an avenging angel, dark, mysterious. I could not help but thing she was an Adele Bloch-Bauer type. Had he been thinking of her? Hygeia was hardly compassionate-looking type, holding her snake and cup. You could not be sure whether she was coming to heal you or kill you.
Portrait of Adele Block Bauer
This is Adele…