Zoom Into Klimt's 'Auditorium in the Old Burgtheater'

Gustav Klimt (1917) by Moriz NährAustrian National Library

In 1887 Gustav Klimt and his partner Franz Matsch received the City of Vienna's commission to document the auditorium in the old Hof-Burgtheater at Michaelerplatz in two large watercolours before its demolition. In addition to the imposing watercolour, the Wien Museum collection holds 26 drawings as well as a sketch book containing various notes and measurements.

Auditorium in the Old Burgtheater (1888/1898) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

Gustav Klimt rendered the view with over 100 illustrious personages from the fields of the arts, politics, sciences, from aristocracy and haute bourgeoisie and is offering detailed insight into the world of Vienna’s society before the turn of the century.

Klimt’s painting depicts the auditorium seen from the stage, and hence the point of view of the orchestra and the actors’ ensemble.

May we introduce...

... Ernst Klimt, historical painter, January 3, 1864 Vienna–December 9, 1892 Vienna. In 1881, founded the Künstler-Compagnie together with his brother Gustav and fellow student Franz Matsch, ...

... Dr. Karl Lueger, politician, October 24, 1844 Vienna–March 10, 1910 Vienna.

Karl Lueger (1844 - 1910) (1900) by UnknownAustrian National Library

City councilor from 1875; served as Mayor of Vienna 1897–1910, ...

Auditorium in the Old Burgtheater (1888/1898) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

... Katharina Schratt, k. u. k. Hofschauspielerin (Imperial and Royal Court Actress), September 11, 1853 Baden–April 17, 1940 Vienna.

Katharina Schratt (1853 - 1940) by UnknownAustrian National Library

Companion of Emperor Franz Joseph I., ...

Auditorium in the Old Burgtheater (1888/1898) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

... Dr. Eduard Bacher, journalist, March 7, 1846 Postelberg (today Postoloprty, Czech Republic)–January 16, 1908 Vienna.

Eduard Bacher (1846 - 1908) by August Robert MakartAustrian National Library

Editor-in-chief of the Neue Freie Presse 1879–1908, as well as the newspaper’s publisher after 1880., ...

Auditorium in the Old Burgtheater (1888/1898) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

... Alexander Girardi, actor, December 5, 1850 Graz–April 20, 1918 Vienna.

Alexander Girardi (1850 - 1918) (1911) by Madame d'Ora, AtelierAustrian National Library

Best-known for his roles in Ferdinand Raimund plays; comedian in classical operettas by Johann Strauss and Franz Lehár, ...

Auditorium in the Old Burgtheater (1888/1898) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

... Erzherzog (Archduke) Carl Ludwig, July 30, 1833 Schönbrunn near Vienna – May 19, 1896 Vienna. Married to Erzherzogin (Archduchess) Maria Theresa, August 24, 1855 Kleinheubach – February 12, 1944 Vienna, ...

... Zerline Gabillon, née Würzburg, k. u. k. Hofschauspielerin (Imperial and Royal Court Actress), August 19, 1833 Güstrow–April 30, 1892 Meran. Debuted at the Hamburg’s Thalia Theater in Hamburg in 1850, then Dresdner Hoftheater; member of the Hof-Burgtheater 1853–91 ...

... and Szerena Pulitzer, May 20, 1867 Pest (today Budapest)–March 27, 1943 Budapest. In 1892, married the industrialist August Lederer.

Serena Lederer (after 1903) by Martin GerlachAustrian National Library

Lederer owned the largest private collection of works by Gustav Klimt including Portrait of Serena Lederer (1899), now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Serena Pulitzer Lederer (1867–1943) (1899) by Gustav KlimtThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

Auditorium in the Old Burgtheater (1888/1898) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum

Klimt’s painting of the old Burgtheater was a great success. Around 60,000 curious onlookers viewed it at the nineteenth annual exhibition of the Vienna Künstlerhaus in 1890, with Klimt becoming the first artist to receive the Kaiserpreis in the amount of 400 ducats under the sponsorship of the Emperor Franz Josef I.

Credits: Story

Abridged texts from the exhibition catalogue: Klimt. The Collection of the Wien Museum

Editor: Ursula Storch

Editing: Ursula Storch and Kerstin Krenn 301 pages, Hatje Cantz Verlag 2012, ISBN 978-3-7757-3360-1


Credits: All media
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