Standing Naked Pregnant Woman from the Left, Embraced by a Man. Study for Hope I
(Baumgarten near Vienna/Vienna 1862–1918 Vienna)
With his rendering of a heavily pregnant nude in his 1903/04 painting *Hope I*, Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) addressed a topic that was highly controversial at the time. The work on paper from the Leopold Museum, which is one of the numerous pencil studies with which Klimt approached this subject, represents an early concept for this motif, rendered using red crayon, which shows the pregnant woman accompanied by a man wrapping his arm around her in a protective manner. Klimt masterfully placed the woman’s belly into the center of the composition, thus highlighting the couple’s unity also in formal terms. The couple further shows similarities, both in terms of form and motif, with the embracing lovers from the *Beethoven Frieze*. For his painting *Hope I*, Klimt decided to depict the pregnant nude without a partner, initially alone within a landscape, and in the final version accompanied by the frightening allegories of death, sickness, old age and insanity.
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Magda Mautner-Markhof, Wien, später Magda Grasmayr, Salzburg (o.D.);
Dr. Klaus Grasmayr, Salzburg (1944-1954);
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1954-1994); (1)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994).
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