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Ars. Ex Libris of the Union of Austrian Visual Artists (Secession), 1898/99

Leopold Museum,
Color lithograph in red on paper
10.3×5.2 cm


  • Gustav Klimt

    (Baumgarten near Vienna/Vienna 1862–1918 Vienna)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) derived the graphic motif of a female head, wearing a Greek helmet and decorated with a Gorgon’s head in the area of the neck, directly from his 1898 painting Pallas Athene. The Secessionists saw the figure of the able-bodied Pallas Athene as a symbol for the defense of artistic freedom. Thus, the choice of this motif for the Secession’s ex libris was of a programmatic nature and related to Klimt’s pre-eminent role within the association as the Secession’s first president from 1897 to 1899. The graphic work was reproduced twice in the Secession’s magazine Ver Sacrum, featuring in number 1 of year 1900 in red on the cover and in black on page 5. Klimt further selected the motif of Pallas Athene for the poster advertising his large-scale collective exhibition, shown in the autumn/winter of 1903/04, as well as for the cover of the accompanying catalogue.

Object data

  • Gustav Klimt
Ars. Ex Libris of the Union of Austrian Visual Artists (Secession)
Art movement
Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Secession
Graphic work
Color lithograph in red on paper
10.3×5.2 cm
Designated above: EX LIBRIS; monogrammed center left: GK; designated center right: ARS; designated below: DER VEREINIGUNG BILDENDER KÜNSTLER ÖSTERREICHS SECESSION
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 1598
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Gustav Klimt. Die Sammlung im Leopold Museum, hrsg. von Tobias G. Natter/Elisabeth Leopold, Ostfildern 2013 (Bestandskatalog des Leopold Museum: Band 1).
  • Wien 1900. Sammlung Leopold, hrsg. von Diethard Leopold/Peter Weinhäupl, Wien u.a. 2009.
  • Die nackte Wahrheit. Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka und andere Skandale, hrsg. von Tobias G. Natter/Max Hollein, München 2005 (Ausst.-Kat. Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 28.01.2005-24.01.2005; Leopold Museum, Wien, 31.05.2005-22.08.2005).
  • Alice Strobl: Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen 1878-1903, Salzburg 1980.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Strobl Bd. 1/1980: 710

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (o.D.);
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994).

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