Gustav Klimt, On Lake Attersee, 1900 © Leopold Museum, Vienna

Gustav Klimt, Attersee


The Attersee, one of Gustav Klimt’s favorite vacation destinations, was depicted here in a manner at the limits of abstraction, which was very unusual for its time. Its radical composition is impressive; Klimt uses the square of the picture almost exclusively to depict the surface of the water using turquoise spots. The only discernible horizon point can be identified in the dark treetops emanating from the Litzlberg island in the upper right corner. Contemporaneous critics, who saw the work for the first time at the fifth Secession exhibition in 1901, reacted with enthusiasm. Ludwig Hevesi said: “A frame full of lake water from the Attersee, nothing but short grey and green waves that glide into each other.”


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