Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels opens 'Beyond Klimt: New Horizons in Central Europe 1914-1938'

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Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels opens 'Beyond Klimt: New Horizons in Central Europe 1914-1938'
István Farkas, Coffeehouse Scene, c.1922. St. Stephen’s King Museum – Deák Collection, Székesfehérvár.

BRUSSELS.- Exactly one hundred years on from their deaths, the Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele are still big names on the international art scene. The exhibition Beyond Klimt doesn’t just present the late work of these great masters, it gives visitors the chance to familiarise themselves with the international avant-garde movements - surrealism, expressionism, new realism, constructivism, Bauhaus etc. - which flourished after WWI in the young national states emerging from the gone Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The exhibition features approximately eighty artists, including Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, László Mohaly-Nagy, František Kupka and Alfred Kubin.

The First World War caused a rift in European (art) history, resulting in radical geopolitical, economic and artistic changes. In 1918 the Austro-Hungarian Empire was permanently divided up into smaller nation states. 1918 is also the year in which the renowned artists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Koloman Moser and Otto Wagner died. As figureheads of the ‘Wiener Sezession’, their characteristic Art Nouveau style embodied the heyday of the Viennese Belle Epoque. Their death represented the end of an era. But what came after them? How have they influenced the next generation of artists and which artistic trends flourished in this region?

Beyond Klimt portrays the artistic developments and diverse avant-garde movements in Central Europe between the key years of 1914 and 1938. Artists from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire made contacts with art scenes throughout the world: they formed networks, used magazines to communicate across the new political borders and met up in art centres and associations. They believed their artistic identity was more important than their nationality. The intensive exchange of ideas resulted in international movements such as surrealism, expressionism, neorealism and constructivism. This internationalism came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of the Second World War, when the feeling of a shared culture was pushed to the background.

An exhibition by the Belvedere, Vienna and the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest. The exhibition will be shown at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (BOZAR) to coincide with the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is a contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

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