Symbolist artist Klimt painted this portrait of Schubert on a 200 cm. by 150 cm./ 79 in. by 59 in. canvas to decorate the music room of “millionaire industrialist Nikolaus von Dumba, a collector of Schubert ephemera.” Huge celebrations attended the 1897 centenary of Schubert’s birth. Klimt’s portrait “became an Austrian cult icon virtually overnight … Color reproductions of this ‘ultimate’ Austrian work … were soon published and eagerly bought by the public.” Alas, the image survives only in reproduction. Among multitude insanities of the last days of the Second World War was the wanton destruction by drunken German S.S. officers of Schloss Immendorf and the many works of art stored there for safekeeping, using explosives left behind by departing Wehrmacht (German army) forces. “This and the other Klimt paintings collected by [Szeréna Pulitzer] Lederer, were destroyed in 1945 … The paintings from the Lederer collection had been placed at the residence of Baron Rudolf Freudenthal, an officer in the Wehrmacht … for safekeeping in 1943. ”

“The Two Gustavs: Klimt, Mahler, and Vienna’s Golden Decade 1897-1907” by Allessandra Comini in Gustav Klimt: The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections, edited by Renée Price (New York: Neue Gallery Museum for German and Austrian Art, 2007?), pp. 36-40. ¶ “Destroyed in WWII: Klimt’s ‘Schubert at the Piano’ (1899)” by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Association for Research in Crimes against Art (ARCA) blog editor-in-chief, June 14, 2012. ¶ “Dazzling demons. The stars of Britain’s first major Klimt show will be his glittering portraits. But his darker, lost works – destroyed by the Nazis – started a revolution in 20th-century art, says Jonathan Jones.” In The Guardian, May 7, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *