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Gustav Klimt.
Vienna and Japan 1900

23 April to 10 July 2019
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan
July to October 2019
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan

Who was Gustav Klimt? More than most artists, Klimt consistently placed his art in the service of expressing his own personality, which has enabled us into the present to gain deep insight into his character. This is illustrated in a Belvedere exhibition in Tokyo and Toyota city celebrating 150 years of diplomatic relations between Austria and Japan, with an emphasis on Japan’s influence in Klimt’s work.

In collaboration with the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, and Japan’s leading newspaper Asahi Shimbun, the Belvedere is undertaking an extensive exhibition project in Japan featuring the ‘artist of the century’ Gustav Klimt. ‘Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist, the only notable thing – ought to look carefully at my pictures and seek there to recognize what I am and what I want’ (Gustav Klimt).  
As Klimt himself so aptly suggested, research has indeed provided multilayered and detailed insight into the artist’s private and spiritual life. The exhibition in Tokyo and Toyota city visualizes the fact that many of Klimt’s works can be understood as expressions of personal crisis, anxiety, and desire. In addition to the artist’s paintings, this is also demonstrated by letters and personal objects. For the first time, such an exhibition comprehensively deciphers the thought cosmos behind Klimt's masterpieces. Another focus of the show is Klimt's relationship to Japan, which repeatedly left its mark on his work. Klimt demonstrably valued Japanese art and found it a rich source of inspiration. The exhibition shows how the influence of Japanese art, exotic and foreign to Europeans at the time, had a stimulating effect on Klimt's painting and on Vienna itself around 1900.  

Belvedere curator: Markus Fellinger

Video Message from Director Stella Rollig to Japan.