Klimt's Half-Length Portraits (1912–17)

In Klimt's later years, his half-length or bust portraits that he often produced were diverse in appearance.

Head-and-Shoulders Portrait of Woman in Three-Quarter Profile (c. 1915) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

The models for these portraits were mostly anonymous, each representing an ideal type favored by Klimt.

Head-and-Shoulders Portrait (1912-1913) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Around 1912–13, Klimt drew this portrait of a girl with spread hair in his rare pen-and-ink technique in parallel to his work on the painting "The Virgin".

He defined her curly hair, spreading like a helmet over her slightly stooped face, using careful hatching. The focal point is her delicate, introverted facial features. In portraits such as these, Klimt got to the essence of various moods.

Portrait of a Lady Wearing a Fur (Study for "Girlfriends II") (1916-1917) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

The model of the 1916/17 drawing of a lady with a fur coat also appears in the painting "The Girlfriends".

The friends after Gustav Klimt, plate 1, Gustav Klimt - The gleanings (1931) by Gustav KlimtMAK – Museum of Applied Arts

Portrait of a Lady Wearing a Fur (Study for "Girlfriends II") (1916-1917) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

The finely detailed pair of eyes with heavy eyelids and raised eyebrows convey a sovereign distance.

In contrast to the finesse of the lines of the face flattered by the fur coat, the loops of clothing intermixed with blue and red almost seem to dissolve.

Half-Length Portrait of a Woman Facing Forward (Study for the portrait "Johanna Staude") (c. 1917) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Despite its intended purpose, the study for the half-length portrait "Johanna Staude" looks like an autonomous work.

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Half-Length Portrait of a Woman Facing Forward (Study for the portrait "Johanna Staude") (c. 1917) by Gustav KlimtAlbertina Museum

Klimt concentrated almost exclusively on the contour lines. The very slightly applied basic features of the face are overlapped by thicker lines, causing the forms to shift lightly.

The result is a lively fluctuation between light- and dark-gray pencil lines, which is particularly effective around the mouth and eyes.

In this subtly characterized study, Klimt still employed the Symbolist formula of the frontal, hypnotizing gaze, with the upper edge of the sheet fragmenting her hair.

Credits: Story

The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna

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