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Two Cowering Female Nudes, Bending Forward. Studies for The Sufferings of Weak Humanity from the Beethoven Frieze, 1901

Leopold Museum,
Black chalk on brown paper
44.9×32 cm


  • Gustav Klimt

    (Baumgarten near Vienna/Vienna 1862–1918 Vienna)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Gustav Klimt’s (1862–1918) work on the Beethoven Frieze for the 14th Exhibition of the Vienna Secession, held in 1902, was so advanced by the beginning of 1902 that the many preliminary drawings must have been created already in the summer of 1901. This depiction of a female figure cowering on the floor, which in the present study appears in two variations featuring bold foreshortening and cohesive contours, was likely a draft for The Sufferings of Weak Humanity in the frieze. As we know from the transfer sketch for the Beethoven Frieze, which was rediscovered in 2006, Klimt had envisaged a second cowering figure but did not include it in the final execution. The drawing features the rarely used monogram “G.K.”, while the initial “R” refers to the work’s first owner Carl Reininghaus (1857–1929).

Object data

  • Gustav Klimt
Two Cowering Female Nudes, Bending Forward. Studies for The Sufferings of Weak Humanity from the Beethoven Frieze
Art movement
Symbolism, Art Nouveau
Graphic work
Black chalk on brown paper
44.9×32 cm
Monogrammed lower right with pencil: G. K; designated lower right: R[Carl Reininghaus]
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 1974
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).
  • Alice Strobl: Gustav Klimt. Die Zeichnungen. 1878 bis 1918, Salzburg 1989.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Strobl Bd. 4/1989; 3456a

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Carl Reininghaus, Wien (1903-1915); (1)
August und Szeréna Lederer, Wien (1915-1936);
Szeréna Lederer, Wien später Budapest (1936-1943);

1938/39 Sicherstellung der Sammlung Lederer durch den Magistrat der Stadt Wien
1944 zum Schutz vor Luftangriffen in Altaussee gelagert
23.08.1946 Aufhebung der Sicherstellungsbescheide durch den Magistrat der Stadt Wien

Erich Lederer, Genf (ab 1946);
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (o.D.); (2)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994).

  1. Bleistiftvermerk auf dem Blatt rechts unten: »R[Carl Reininghaus]«; Christian M. Nebehay (Hg.), Gustav Klimt Dokumentation, Wien 1969, S. 291.
  2. Sonja Niederacher, Dossier zu zwei Zeichnungen von Gustav Klimt, 04.01.2016.
Decision of the Advisory Board (PDF)

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