Gustav Klimt's Vienna Secession Poster

By MAK – Museum of Applied Arts

MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art

[1st Art Exhibition of the Union of Austrian Artists – Secession (Uncensored)] (1898) by Gustav KlimtMAK – Museum of Applied Arts

The Original

To advertise the first exhibition of the Vienna Secession, Gustav Klimt chose the fighting scene between Theseus and the Minotaur.  

In this scene Theseus, shielded by Pallas Athena, embodies the new concept of art of the members of the Secession while the Minotaur represents the conservatively oriented Künstlerhaus.

I. Kunstausstellung der Vereinigung Bildender Künstler Österreichs – Secession (zensuriert) (1898) by Gustav KlimtMAK – Museum of Applied Arts

The Censored Version

The depiction became a public affront: the imperial-royal department for censorship took offence at Theseus’ relatively small fig leaf. 

Only after Klimt had made “corrections” in this regard was the poster approved.

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