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Vienna: Art & Design

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Published March 21st 2011
As part of the 2011 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition series, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is presenting the anticipated exhibition Vienna: Art & Design; Klimt, Schiele, Hoffmann, Loos, from June 18, 2011 until October 9, 2011.

Featuring over 250 works by Austria's most celebrated artists Gustave Klimt, Egon Schiele, Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos, this exhibition is sure to be a popular attraction this winter.

Judith and the Head of Holofernes by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), painted in 1901

The works of Gustave Klimt, were in the 20th Century considered to be controversial, due to the strong eroticism which often featured in his work and depiction of Freudian issues. Yet Klimt's works, despite the dark thematic concerns were still quite beautiful and Klimt seemed enamored with the female form.

Defined by his use of golf leaf and Egyptian, Minoan, Classical Greek and Byzantine inspirations, the work of Klimt is today still greatly admired and influential. A range of drawings and paintings by Klimt will feature in the forthcoming exhibition.

If Klimt was defined by controversy in his time, Egon Schiele, a protege of Klimt, was the enfant terrible.

The work of Schiele, carried the same underlying eroticism found in the works of his mentor, Klimt, but it appeared much more overt, more realist, perhaps even deemed grotesque. Schiele, who died at age 28, was a respected artist in his time, but his work was also considered pornographic by some sections of society, in fact he was found guilty of exhibiting pornographic images and sentenced to three days in prison (he had already spent twenty-one days in prison awaiting his trial). Schiele's troubled life was the subject of the 1980 feature film Excess and Punishment, directed by Herbert Vesely.

The upcoming exhibition will feature many of Schiele's celebrated drawings and paintings, which consist of portraits and landscapes.

Another Austrian great is architect and designer Josef Hoffmann. Hoffmann's work is largely about functionality, but it appears he was also inspired by abstract art and cubism.

Hoffmann was responsible for the design of the Sanatorium Purkersdorf, which is an example of the style encouraged by the Vienna Secession, an artistic movement founded by Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Gustave Klimt and others. Hoffmann's work was key to the Art Nouveau movement, and often Hoffmann's designs featured murals and ornamentation. Another design by Hoffmann is the Kubus Armchair, which was designed in 1910, and is still commonly used today. Much of Hoffmann's work is defined by cubes and squares and this exhibition will have a number of displays of Hoffmann's influential furniture designs.

Kubus armchair by Josef Hoffmann.

The final celebrated figure of the Vienna: Art & Design exhibition is Adolf Loos, an Austro-Hungarian architect.

Loos, in his 1908 esssy Ornament and Crime, rejected the style of the Vienna Secession and his work instead reflected classical tradition. Some of Loos' designs include the Villa Müller, Maison Tzara and Villa Winternitz.

This is a fantastic exhibition, offering patrons a chance to truly explore and understand what exactly was at the heart of the Vienna Secession.

From the beautiful and daring paintings by Klimt, to the stark unforgiving portraits by Schiele, to the influential designs of Hoffman, to the critical writings of Loos, there is a lot to discover at the upcoming Vienna: Art & Design exhibition. As mentioned, there are over 250 works of art featured in this exhibition, including paintings, drawings, furniture, photography and jewellery.

Tickets can currently be purchased for this exhibition at a discounted price, if purchased as a NGV 150 Exhibition Pass, which entitles the ticket holder entry to three upcoming NGV exhibitions, at the discounted price of $45.00 for an Adult Ticket and $27.00 for NGV Members.

This special pass was created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the NGV, which will be celebrated on May 24, 2011. See the terms and condition of this special ticket at the NGV website. A standard Adult Ticket for this exhibition is priced at $24, while Concession is priced at the discounted fee of $20. You can purchase either ticket at the NGV website now.
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Why? A fantastic opportunity to see art, which has never been exhibited in Australia before
When: 18 June to 9 October, 2011
Where: NGV International: 180 St Kilda Road, Southbank Victoria, Australia
Cost: Standard Adult Ticket is $24 and Standard Consession is $20.
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