Inclined Male Head to the Right

Gustav Klimt

Vienna 1862 - 1918 Vienna

Inclined Male Head to the Right

Head Study for the Adam in the Painting "Adam and Eve" (incomplete)

Pencil on paper

57 × 37.4 cm

Stamp lower right: GUSTAV / KLIMT / NACHLASS

Strobl WV no. 2892


Private collection Prof. Dieter Loos, Salzburg


Alice Strobl, Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen. Vol. III: Die Zeichnungen 1912-1918, Salzburg 1984, ill. p. 189, WV no. 2892

Klimt's late major work Adam and Eve (1916-1918, unfinished) shows the first human couple standing frontally, with Adam largely hidden behind the voluptuous, naked figure of Eve. His sleeping, sideways-leaning face forms a memorable contrast to her glowing eyes. It seems that Klimt was referring to the story of creation in the Bible: before the Lord created the first woman from Adam's rib, he let him sink into deep sleep. From this point of view, Klimt's Eve, who outshines everything else, seems to symbolically see the light of day - whereby the sketchily indicated apple in her hand already points to the Fall of Man.
It is unmistakable that Klimt was intensively concerned with Adam's state of deep or semi-sleep in his drawing studies. In a series of preparatory drawings, he focuses on the man's head held at an angle, with emphasis on the eyes that are fully or half closed. In the drawing displayed, Klimt concentrates on the core statement with short, expressive lines. With a delicate pencil he first fixes the basic lines of the angular face, of which he only schematically reproduces the ears and hair. With stronger contours he emphasises the chin and cheeks as well as the nose and eye area. The eyes, which are largely hidden behind heavy lids and look sideways are a decisive factor in the expression. These elevate the autonomous-looking study to a symbol of reflection and inner withdrawal.
Marian Bisanz-Prakken