When you’ve got a free day to spend in New York City…
(and the weather is beautiful), why not stroll over for a visit to the Guggenheim? Easy for me to say, of course, because I live in the Big Apple; actually, the truth is that I was last at the Guggenheim probably about 20 years ago!
The reason for my visit today was to see the Hilma af Klimt exhibit which is closing in a few days. And of course, I was curious to see if the Guggenheim lived up to my wonderful memories from so long ago!
Stepping into the Guggenheim’s rotunda…
made me feel instantly uplifted. Even better, the spacious interior magically made the throngs of people seem to disappear into the background. The circular “galleries” not only kept the traffic flowing, but the relatively narrow depth of the exhibition spaces made it possible to always be in close proximity to the artwork. Lastly, it was nice to know that I would circle back down the way I came; like that, I knew I’d have the opportunity to catch anything I’d missed on the way up.
A little about the artist…
Hilma af Klimt studied art in Stockholm at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts graduating with honors in 1887. Her figurative portraits, like the one below, quickly earned her respected status in the art world of Stockholm.
But the bulk of her work (the subject of this exhibition) produced from 1906-1920, departed from the objective to focus on mystical and abstract visions. Interestingly, these visions were largely the result of Klimt’s spiritual practice as a medium.
Whether is was from Klimt’s choice of colors or the feminine rounded forms, I felt a sense of peace and calm looking at her work…almost like I was being gently drawn into a celestial orbit.
There were a few paintings that were less to my taste. Even so, they were no less astonishing due to their size, vibrancy and symbolism.
Way ahead of her time as an abstract artist, Klimt insisted that her paintings not be publicly shown until at least 20 years after her death. As the exhibition points out, perhaps she was also well aware that it might be some time before the public would embrace abstract art by a woman painter.
The fact that Klimt also sketched out her vision for a “spiral-shaped temple” for the future exhibition of her work made my visit to the Guggenheim all the more meaningful today.
On my way back down through the Klimt exhibit, I took a quick detour to visit some of the side galleries. Getting to see the Modigliani Jeanne Hébuterne with Yellow Sweater painting…
And the Picasso Woman Ironing painting was the icing on the cake. All in all, I had a most gratifying visit to the museum!
P.S. As you can probably tell, I love fine art…I even love VERY abstract art like this!
Oh how beautiful. The photos and the paintings! Very interesting work, surely way ahead of her time. One of the great things about the Guggenheim is that you can see the paintings over and over from very different perspectives, as you wind your way down. Almost felt like I was there with you! Xox
And how I wish you’d been there with me, too! I would have liked to visit the cafe…maybe the next time you come to town? (And the gift shops were nice, too!) xox – J