Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ah Vienna!

I went to see Vienna: Art and Design at the NGV International this afternoon and I'm so glad I did. The 120 or so pieces in the show are absolutely exquisite. I must say that, although I loved seeing the Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka paintings & drawings in the flesh, so to speak, I was thoroughly mesmerized by the poster and furniture designs, mostly by Josef Hoffman. The chairs were elegant, very Art Nouveau, indeed there was a Nouveau/Deco feel to the whole exhibition, which of course is expected since most of the artists in the show were part of the Vienna Secession - the Austrian branch of Art Nouveau style. The exhibition also included many silver tea sets and other household items. Exhibition entrance fees are a little high, but after having a glass of Viennese white wine in the sun-lit NGV courtyard prior to seeing the works, concern about the price of my ticket faded into the background as I soaked in all that decorative work laced with metallic paint. It's also, I think the quietest exhibition I've ever experienced. Although it was well attended there was an air of respect from patrons as they spent time study each of the works - barely a sound as people walked from piece to piece and formed little groups that stood quietly in front of iconic works by Klimt. I was no different. I meditated at the altar of Klimt's Emile Floge and like many, contemplated what their relationship really was. I'd recommend this exhibition, and doubly recommend trying the Viennese wine.

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