This morning ‘s New York Times had a review of what appears to be a marvelous exploration of Viennese modernism at the Neue Galerie.
Although Roberta Smith was a bit dismissive of the Neue’s obvious affection for fin de Siècle excess, going so far as declaring the gallery “…adolescently, in love…”; she saves much of her disdain for Hans Makart.
b. 28th May 1840
d. 3rd October 1884
She describes Makarts work as “this froth of cloying brushwork and sartorial detail ” that “stands out like a sore thumb opposite Adele. But it vividly locates the artistic stagnation that the painters of other portraits in the room — Klimt, as well as Schiele and Kokoschka — were rebelling against”.
It is unfair to compare Makart to the Gustav Klimt, but as the exhibit contrasts the two artist; the former studio assistant will inevitably outshine his master.
I love Klimt of course, how can you not?
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I
I just feel it important to not dismiss Makart as “froth”.
An artist held in such esteem that Bernhardt posed for him.
A master colorist who left behind a body of work that is often startlingly seductive and subversive. Klimt clearly was a genius, but Makart deserves his due.
Allegory of Lust for Life
(certainly not a subtle image)
It has been awhile since I posted on Makart, I think this a good time to review what I admire about his work.
I find this painting a bit odd, is it a twist on the Nativity?
It is true that Makart enjoyed tremendous success in his day, it is understandable to defend the rebellious Klimt.
Makart’s atelier/ salon, described by Cosima Wagner as a “wonder of decorative beauty” drew a wide circle of fashionable society, Makart satisfied their vanity with very smart portraits.
Considered a poor draughtsman, Makart compensated with dazzling coloring and dramatic composition.
The Death of Cleopatra
This floral painting is far from conventional, there is sinister quality that is difficult to ignore.
And although more conventional, the gorgeous palette is very seductive .
So pervasive was the Makartstil,floral arrangements of such lush abundance became known as Makartbouquet.
Fanciful images of a faun and nymph are cast in creepy light by this “frothy” artist.
(such a perverse image)
Makart like his contemporary Antoine Wiertz may not have been exceptional next to the wondrous Klimt or Schiele, but they were gifted and inventive; contrary to Smith’s accusation of “artistic stagnation”.
I wish my own work was so stagnant.
I for one do not want them forgotten.
Enjoy the weekend.