Klimt at the Tate – Liverpool

1890 Gustav Klimt
1890 Gustav Klimt

Went to see the Klimt at the Tate of the North at the Albert Docks during the summer holidays. Very confusing choosing the correct queue to go brandish my tickets. It was our cultural day out. I’d dragged along both offspring. Kate happy to go, Danny not sure what he’s let himself in for. For that matter, neither did I. I love the famous pieces but wasn’t sure what was on display.
1st stop the Beethoven frieze. It was a shock. Nothing like what I had expected. With that title I thought there would be some obvious musical references. But of course, more subtle than that. Three enormous panels taking up the room. Beautiful, serene figures floating or drifting across the space. All symbolic either driving on the heroic or displaying the worst human traits. Very classical. Horizontal/vertical. Reminded me of a mixture of Burn-Jones and Mackintosh. Just Beautiful. I loved it.

The Three Ages of Woman, Klimt
The Three Ages of Woman, Klimt

Upstairs was a more general exhibition. Wiener Werkstatte, a Hoffman, Moser, Werkstatte collaboration which, inspired by the British Arts and Craft Movement, wanted to incorporate design objects into everyday items – architecture, furniture etc. I’m not a fan of a asylum designs so I darted threw the throngs to find the 2D stuff. There was a room with early Klimts. Here was all his classically trained early works. Amazing in detail. Very tranquil in mood.
In a darkened room with a warning to those with faint heart, were the most surprising nude sketches. Practically all of masturbating women. Very revealing. Noticeably, very quickly drawn. These gave rise to an interesting conversation with Danny.in amongst some incredible landscapes where the patterns just take over the canvas was my favourite, The Three ages of Woman. Everything just fitted together- there wasn’t any sense of perspective, the figures just overlap each other in a floating space – that sparkles.

We later visited the other exhibitions down stairs, and the most heated talk was on the flimsy nature of modern art when compared with something as beautiful as the Klimt works.
As the one trained in art, I was having difficulties defending much of the other exhibits. In fact Kate was really angry at the blank canvases. And I think she is probably right.

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