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Flight of birds, 1951

Leopold Museum,
Oil on canvas
51×40.6 cm


  • Erika Giovanna Klien

    (Borgo Valsugana 1900–1957 New York)

Currently on display at EG
Viennese Kineticism focused on dynamic processes of perception, starting in part from esoteric viewpoints. This singular experiment took place at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts in the early 1920s. In his class for ornamental morphology, reformist Franz Čižek (1865–1946) aimed to encourage a new form of seeing, which was to be achieved via Expressionism (sentiments), Cubism (relations between space and object) and Futurism (movement). “The crystallization of these rhythms, conceived as living things, resulted in the revelation, the ornament of our time,” Leopold Wolfgang Rochowanski (1888–1961) wrote in 1922 in Der Formwille der Zeit in der angewandten Kunst (The Present Will to Shape in Applied Arts). Čižek’s student Erika Giovanna Klien (1900–1957) – one of the most prominent representatives of this new style of painting, along with Elisabeth Karlinsky (1904–1994) and My Ullmann (1905–1995) – created a puppet theater of Kineticism and also passed on Čižek’s theories in her work as an art teacher at several dance schools. After the artist moved to the US in 1929 her artistic practice betrayed Constructivist tendencies as well as an interest in “primitive” children’s art. The design formulas of Kineticism benefited her attempts to establish herself as a decoration artist and graphic designer from the early 1940s. This work was created at a time when Klien intensively explored motifs of flying birds and the movements of urban masses.

Object data

  • Erika Giovanna Klien
Flight of birds
Art movement
Oil on canvas
51×40.6 cm
Credit line of the permanent loan
Ernst Ploil, Vienna

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

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