Gustav Klimt

Portrait of a lady facing forwards


Strobl 2830. private collection, Berlin; Galerie Gerd Rosen, Berlin 1954; Walter Stein, et. al. 1954; Ketterer Kunst, Munich 28.11.1988, lot 74, with col. plate; collection of/estate of Serge Sabarsky, New York, since 1988; collection of/foundation Vally Sabarsky, New York. Exhibitions: Gustav Klimt, Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo 1981, no. 106, with ill.limt Schiele Kokoschka, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen et. al. 1995, cat. no.81; Hommage à Serge Sabarsky. Klimt. Kokoschka. Schiele, Aquarelle und Zeichnungen, Jahrhunderthalle Hoechst, Frankfurt/Main 1997, cat. no.26; Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen 2002. Provenance: Collection of/estate of Serge Sabarsky, New York; collection of/Foundation Vally Sabarsky, New York.


• Intimate and sensuous portrait of one of Klimt’s characteristic beauties
• Rare coloured drawing by the artist
• Presumably created in connection with the right-hand figure of the (burnt) painting “The Girlfriends”

This remarkable drawing by Gustav Klimt depicts an unnamed female model. With her large eyes and slightly parted red lips, the lady is an archetypal Klimtian figure. Her posture exudes a quiet grace and a subtle but powerful attraction. She leans her body slightly forward, her attention entirely focused on the viewer. With flowing lines, Klimt creates a sensual yet intimate atmosphere. Klimt’s drawings are usually related to his paintings. The present drawing was probably created as a preparatory work for the work “The Girlfriends,” which was destroyed in Immendorf Castle in 1945. Klimt had close, often romantic relationships with his models, which is reflected in the closeness and intimacy of his drawings. Klimt’s entire oeuvre is testament to his devotion to women. Regine Schmidt writes about the artist’s handling of the female form and its central importance for his entire artistic work: “Gustav Klimt’s work was and is such that you can become lost in it. His women, ladies and girls are mere forms of nature itself, like flowers that he drew and painted as they budded, bloomed and withered. […] His oeuvre is a constant homage to women. For Klimt they were erotic beings.” (Regine Schmidt, in: Klimt’s Women, New Haven 2000, pp. 27 and 30).Klimt transforms drawing into a highly personal, experimental means of expression that gives his work a new spontaneity and subjectivity. The fine pencil line with which he captures, explores and caresses his model, as if the drawing itself were an act of seduction. Klimt renews the European tradition of figure painting by placing the female body and human fate at the centre of his interest. This beautiful and tender drawing reveals the inventive power of this extraordinary artist.

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