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QUICK TAKES : Klimt comes to the Getty

November 17, 2009|Suzanne Muchnic

The J. Paul Getty Museum will unveil three recent acquisitions -- two figure drawings by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt and a pastel portrait by Italian painter Rosalba Carriera -- today in the museum's South Pavilion Pastel Gallery at the Getty Center.

The works by Klimt, a leading figure in the Viennese Secessionist movement, are the first by the artist to enter the museum's collection, said Lee Hendrix, senior curator of drawings. "Portrait of a Young Woman Reclining," an 1897-98 work thought to portray Viennese socialite Sonja Knips, is an erotic image of a dreamy-eyed woman with a pouf of upswept hair who rests her head on a pillow. "Two Studies of a Seated Nude With Long Hair," a rear view of a woman with a cascade of wavy locks, was made about 1901-02 as a preparatory drawing for a Klimt painting, "Goldfish."

Carriera's "Sir James Gray, 2nd Baronet" is a spirited likeness of a young gentleman in a powdered wig made about 1744-45 by a woman who excelled in the delicate medium of pastel. Her work has a remarkable air of spontaneity, rather like "the photography of its day," Hendrix said. The portrait of the elegantly attired son of a British courtier is "less about rank and more about personality and dash and fun," she said.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

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