GUSTAV KLIMT, The Large Poplar II (Gathering Storm), 1902/03 © Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 2008

Gustav Klimt, The Large Poplar II (Gathering Storm)

1902/03

Between 1900 and 1907, Klimt spent his summer holidays with the Flöge family in the guest house of the Litzlberg Brewery on the Attersee. He was able to find interesting motifs within even the immediate surroundings of his summer dwelling, where he twice painted a mighty poplar tree flanking the Seehof chapel in Litzlberg. This imposing tree piles up like a vibrating surface made up of countless pointillist-looking “trout blotches,” as Ludwig Hevesi called them, and the sky rendered in orange-red, blue-green, and other hues. The emerging thunderstorm manifests itself in the tense atmosphere of the sky, which Klimt achieved with a sheer expanse of nuanced monochrome. Critics, who saw the work for the first time at the Secession’s great Klimt exhibition in 1903, also commented on the painting’s dark, gloomy mood.

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