Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele, and Picasso at Met Brauer

The Met Breuer Museum in New York City has been putting on great exhibitions in the last few years, and its latest exhibition, Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele, and Picasso, is no exception. Residents and guests of the city are invited to enjoy about fifty world-class watercolors, prints, and drawings that usually form part of the Scofield Thayer Collection.

brauer exhibition
The Met Breuer, New York City, Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele, and Picasso

According to Will Heinrich of The New York Times, “Thayer was a heir to a New England woollen goods fortune and while based in Vienna from 1921-23 to undergo psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud, he collected more than 600 pieces of art, among them erotic drawings by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Pablo Picasso”. On his death in 1982, he left a bequest for this part of his collection, donating it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thayer
Scofield Thayer, 1889 – 1982

Although each of these artists has their own, distinct style and at first glance, there is little direct connection between Schiele, Klimt and Picasso, Heinrich judiciously observes that this trio is “as neat as any geometry lesson, with Picasso’s sense of the human body as a mass in space, Klimt’s fixation on gauzy planes and surfaces and Schiele’s potent, monomaniac line”. It is fascinating to see how these three artists are put together in the same venue, and how there works are communicating with each other, highlighting commonalities and overlaps between their visions that are otherwise not obvious. It is truly the unique context of this exhibition and their direct juxtapositioning that encourages us to appreciate their differences while at the same reminds us that the three artists were part of the global change of artistic ethos and modes of expression in the early 20th century.

Schiele Self-Portrait
Egon Schiele, Self Portrait, 1911, watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper, 20 1/4 x 13 3/4 in

The New York Times’ events platform, NYC Go, referred to the artworks on display as “nudes with attitude”, and this summarizes well the pertaining look and feel of this unique exhibition. Some of the works presented are underdrawings or preparatory studies, and for me as an artist it is fascinating to see how these blockbuster artists painstakingly planned their seemingly spontaneous artworks, in addition to enjoying their powerful presence. The exhibition is available to visit through October 7, 2018, at The Met Breuer Museum, 2nd floor. While boarding my flight to go to Ireland, where I will be taking part in a painting workshop with Andrew Lattimore, I couldn’t help but look forward to returning back to New York City and visiting this exhibition.

Klimt Reclining Nude
Gustav Klimt, Reclining Nude With Drapery, Back View, 1917-18, graphite, 14 5/8 x 22 3/8 in

 

Picasse Bather
Pablo Picasso, Reclining Bather with a Book, 1921, graphite on paper, 8 7/8 x 11 in