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Rare double-sided Gustav Klimt drawing discovered by San Francisco gallery
Verso Rare Double-Sided Gustav Klimt Drawing Discovered by San Francisco Gallery. Photo: Courtesy of Lost Art Salon.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- San Francisco-based art gallery, Lost Art Salon, announced the discovery of a previously unknown, double-sided Gustav Klimt drawing. This previously unseen drawing will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at the gallery, “Time Capsule: A Lost Klimt and Other Viennese Treasures”, as well as in the forthcoming Supplement Volume of the Catalogue Raisonne of Klimt drawings by the Albertina Museum, Vienna*.

Purchased in an auction lot of unidentified works on paper and then later verified by the Albertina Museum in Vienna, the recto of the drawing by Gustav Klimt (c. 1897-98), a portrait of a seated woman, stylistically corresponds with a group of studies made for his 1898 painting, Portrait of Sonja Knips. The painting was Klimt’s first portrait in a new style that mixed Symbolism, Japonisme and Impressionism, as well as the first of many portraits of Vienna’s high-society women. The verso, a reclining nude, belongs to a group of studies made for his drawing Fischblut, which was featured as the cover of the Secessionist periodical Ver Sacrum and combines the female figure with the strong lines and whimsy of the Symbolist and Art Nouveau styles. These two drawings mark the inception of Klimt's signature Modernist style, and provide a unique first look at the technical development of the Secession's most well-known painter.

Opening on Saturday, February 14, 2015, “Time Capsule: A Lost Klimt and Other Viennese Treasures”, will offer a unique glimpse into the rich art community of Modernist Vienna Circa 1900. The exhibition will display the rare and previously unknown double-sided drawing by Gustav Klimt, as well as other notable artists discovered in the auction collection, including Jan Toorop, a Symbolist whose use of line inspired Klimt’s Modern works after he exhibited at the Vienna Secession circa 1900, and Johannes Fischer. Fischer, a painter, printmaker and photographer, founded the New Vienna Secession with Egon Schiele in 1918 and is best known for his portrait photographs of Schiele. Additional artists in the exhibit include both faculty and students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, as well as Fischer’s wife and fellow printmaker, Maria Fischer. A multitude of the exhibited works feature European landscapes and portraits.

"Frequently, as owners of the Lost Art Salon, we are asked, “what is your greatest discovery," says Rob Delamater, who co-owns the gallery with Gaetan Caron. “The pieces featured in “Time Capsule: A Lost Klimt and Other Viennese Treasures” constitute our most stunning and historically significant discoveries to date.” The story of the Klimt discovery is a familiar one in art history; a forgotten treasure nearly scrapped until its value is finally recognized. Lost Art Salon purchased the collection of miscellaneous European works on paper at a Bay Area auction (Auctions by the Bay) in Spring, 2014. As with all gallery acquisitions, the Salon began to research each piece. The first clue was a group of pieces signed by Johannes and Maria Fischer. Because the Fischers were close friends of Egon Schiele, the Lost Art Salon staff began to consider that the other pieces might be connected to Vienna and/or the Secessionist group. This led to the discovery of the double-sided Klimt, which in lieu of an easily recognized signature, carried the longhand inscription of Klimt's sister, Hermine, who estate-inscribed a large number of the drawings which were left in Klimt's studio at the time of the artist's death in 1918. "With more research, we came to understand that this collection is indeed a time capsule; this coherent group of pieces has been preserved and hidden from the art world until now." Within this group is a delicate lineage of the Viennese art community at the turn of the century, a preserved pocket of forgotten works that trace Modernism from its early roots in the Academic style, through its rejection of that establishment by way of the Vienna Secession.

Lost Art Salon has made every effort to trace the provenance of this collection, yet there is still very little known. From what could be gathered, the auction lot came from a San Francisco collector of Austrian origin who immigrated to the United States and passed away in 1960. The gallery hopes that more information will come to light as the story of this rare acquisition has its public debut on February 14, 2015 in Lost Art Salon’s exhibition, “Time Capsule: A Lost Klimt and Other Viennese Treasures”.

“Time Capsule: A Lost Klimt and Other Viennese Treasures” will open with a public reception on Saturday, February 14, 2015, from 6:30PM to 9:00PM. A public preview will begin at 1:00PM.

Lost Art Salon, located at 245 S. Van Ness Suite #303, San Francisco, CA, 94103.

All artwork, with the exception of the Klimt drawing, will be for sale.

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