Lovers, Facing Right

Gustav Klimt

Vienna 1862 - 1918 Vienna

Lovers, Facing Right

Pencil on paper

36.8 x 56 cm

Stamp of the estate lower left: GUSTAV / KLIMT / NACHLASS

Strobl WV no. 2452


Private collection USA, Courtesy Serge Sabarsky Gallery,
New York


Paris, Galerie Negru, no. 7, 1977
Vienna, Galerie Würthle, no. 73, 1978


Alice Strobl, Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen. Vol. III: Die Zeichnungen 1878-1918, Salzburg 1989, ill. p. 81, WV no. 2452

In his final eight years, Gustav Klimt largely retreated from the public eye and dedicated himself steadily to erotic themes in his art. In his artworks from 1912 to 1915, the erotic nude or semi-nude – also at times displayed with a pair of lovers - plays an integral role. Mostly he pictured his characters laying on their back with their legs stretched out. In their horizontal coupling Klimt’s models sometimes – as seen in our drawing “Lovers, Facing Right” - present themselves in an extreme spatial position, seemingly flexible in their dimensional plane. “The relationship of tension between outward calm and inner movement […] he remained to the end a stage director of poses, gestures, and atmospheres for his models and-invisible yet clearly palpable-formed their stable, male opposite part”1. This balancing act corresponds to Klimt’s typical, albeit nervous brush-strokes which we often see in the late stages of his life. Contours of the highest sensitivity are a characteristic of his language of lines, creating either precise, poignant lines to individualize his models or to give them spatial function. The linear movement of Klimt’s placed outlines enwrap the female figure as she herself is in a trance-like state, an expressed sensuality and erotic ecstasy perfectly symbolized.
A metaphysical Dreaminess, sensual aesthetic and, in comparison to his earlier depicted couples, a more evolved passion characterize “Lovers, Facing Right”. The overabundance of temperament finds its depiction in the layering of the dress, by which Klimt draws much more importance than before. Gustav Klimt found valuable inspiration for the expression of lovers through his extensive collection of erotic Japanese woodcuts.

1 See Marian Bisanz-Prakken, „The Late Years 1910-1918”, in Exhibition Catalogue “Gustav Klimt. The Drawings”, Albertina, Vienna 2012, p. 226-301, here: p. 252.