Klimt's Studies in Connection with "Expectation" in the Stoclet Frieze

Palais Stoclet, dining roomAustrian National Library

One of Klimt's most famous works in his Golden style is the mosaic frieze he designed for the dining room of Palais Stoclet in Brussels, built by Josef Hoffmann. A team of craftsmen from the Wiener Werkstätte worked according to designs drawn by Klimt. The majority of the preparatory works and the completion of the main work were executed between 1908 and 1911. However, Klimt's exploration of the central theme of "Expectation" and "Fulfillment" in drawing began as early as 1904/05.

Nine Cartoons for the Execution of a Frieze for the Dining Room of Stoclet House in Brussels: Part 2, Expectation (Dancer) (1910–1911) by Gustav KlimtMAK – Museum of Applied Arts

Standing Clothed Woman in Profile (Study for "Poetry" of the "Beethoven Frieze") (1901) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

In this profile study for "Poetry" in the Beethoven Frieze, the aspect of contemplation seems to foreshadow the striving for an ideal spiritual state of "Expectation".

Male Nude in Profile with Weight on His Neck (1904-1905) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

One possibly early noted idea for this frieze is the figure of a man standing in profile carrying a weight on his neck, drawn in 1904/05. This study combines muscular powers and introverted facial expression.

Woman Reading in Profile (1907-1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

The study of a woman reading drawn in 1907/08 belongs to an outstanding group of reading and singing female figures. These seem to revolve around the theme of internally elevating the human beings through the arts. The boldly outlined and spiritualized face in profile stands in contrast to the frantic lines of the patterned cloak. The lack of a connection to the ground underscores the elevated, serious mood of the study.

Female Dancer with Bent Arm (Study for "Expectation" of the "Stoclet Frieze") (1907-1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

The studies of female dancers represent the last stage before the final draft of "Expectation", which was inspired by Egyptian art. They express this eventual spiritual pursuit not through movement but through their "Egyptian" pose, with their front-facing bodies and faces turned to the side.

The stepping pose of the dancers is defined by the simple contours of their broadly falling skirts whose borders overlap the lower edge of the paper sheet. Their lack of contact with the ground makes these figures appear as if floating.

Through the ritualistic gestures of their bent and slender arms and hands, Klimt creates a highly personal synthesis of their multi-layered afflatus—from old Egyptian examples to figure art by Jan Toorop, George Minne, and Ferdinand Hodler. In addition, modern dance was greatly important to him.

Female Head in Three-Quarter Profile (1907-1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Klimt drew several individual female head studies in relation to the figure of the dancer. These were inspired by Egyptian images.

Woman Standing in Patterned Gown (1908-1910) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

The study of a columnlike figure fragmented above and below stands completely alone. Based on the closeness of its motif and style to studies produced for the Stoclet Frieze, it can plausibly be placed in this context - presumably in a late phase of the preparatory drawings. With its solid, monument-like appearance, the figure is reminiscent of an Egyptian mummy.

The free ornamental structures surrounding the figure are suggestive of some of the patterns produced around the same time.

Woman Reading in Profile (1907-1908) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Comparable to these loosely drawn structures are, for instance, the patterns of the reader's clothing.

Credits: Story

The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Klimt vs. Klimt
From penniless unknown to the famous creator of The Kiss, get to know the contradictory life of Gustav Klimt
View theme
Google apps