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Two Female Nudes Embracing. Study for Water Snakes I, 1903

Leopold Museum,
Blue crayon on brown paper
43.5×32.5 cm


  • Gustav Klimt

    (Baumgarten near Vienna/Vienna 1862–1918 Vienna)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
The present drawing is one of the first drafts for Gustav Klimt’s (1862–1918) painting Water Snakes I. Klimt created different versions of this miniature-like work on parchment paper before he presented the final version at his solo exhibition held at Galerie Miethke in the summer and autumn of 1907. As the Leopold Museum’s drawing was reproduced in number 22 of the Secession’s magazine Ver Sacrum in 1903, we can conclude that Klimt started already that year to execute studies for Water Snakes I. Despite its early date of creation, the work’s composition with the two embracing and ecstatic female nudes comes remarkably close to the final painting. The work from the Leopold Museum further stands out from the other approximately 20 known preliminary studies for Water Snakes I on account of Klimt’s use of blue crayon.

Object data

  • Gustav Klimt
Two Female Nudes Embracing. Study for Water Snakes I
Art movement
Art Nouveau, Symbolism
Graphic work
Blue crayon on brown paper
43.5×32.5 cm
Stamp (faded) lower left: GUSTAV KLIMT NACHLASS
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 1342
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Gustav Klimt. Jahrhundertkünstler, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger/Sandra Tretter, Wien 2018 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 22.06.2018–04.11.2018).
  • Gustav Klimt. Die Sammlung im Leopold Museum, hrsg. von Tobias G. Natter/Elisabeth Leopold, Ostfildern 2013 (Bestandskatalog des Leopold Museum: Band 1).
  • Alice Strobl: Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen 1904-1912, Salzburg 1982.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Strobl Bd. 2/1982: 1353

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Nachlass Gustav Klimt, Wien (1918); (1)
Auktion: 19.-22.03.1968, Dorotheums Wien, 579. Kunstauktion, Los Nr. 294 (Tafel 103)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1968-1994); (2)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994)

  1. Nachlassstempel »GUSTAV / KLIMT / NACHLASS« vorne links unten
  2. Alice Strobl, Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen 1904-1912, Salzburg 1982, S. 64, Nr. 1353; Tobias G. Natter / Elisabeth Leopold (Hrsg.), Gustav Klimt. Die Sammlung im Leopold Museum, Ostfildern 2013, Nr. Z 11, S. 222.

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