Gustav Klimt - Stehendes Liebespaar / Studie zu "die Erfüllung", ca. 1905-1911
Pencil on japanese paper
55 x 37 cm
A reoccuring theme in Klimts work is the depiction of a couple: a man and a woman grouped together in some kind of physical dialogue with each other. Some of his most prestigious woks portray such a scene, for instance "The Kiss", "Adam and Eve", or "Die Erfüllung", which is believed to be the painting for which this drawing might have been a preliminary sketch. The woman is depicted naked and in a trance-like state with her eyes closed. She is holding on to the arms of the clothed man, whose facial features resemble Klimt himself. Together they form an almost dance like pose.
Klimt renounces any spatial indicators to localize this scene and concentrates on the depiction of the bodies. Their tension and movement are moulded almost exclusively with contouring lines. Except for the mans facial features, almost no details are elaborated, and the figures remain hazy and in a vibrating movement. What's exciting about this drawing are the contradictions between the revealed and concealed, heeding and avoiding, and exhaustions and strenght.
The fleshed out face of the male figure, who's gaze is directed towards the woman, is dominating this image. Klimts own gaze on the female body, for which we have countless testimonies in the form of his erotic drawings, manifests itself here as part of the drawing. To see Klimts erotic drawings as a reduction of women to their bodies would be too simple. The women in his drawings are everything but passive objects, sometimes they turn away from the observer as if in complete indifference or they glance back provocatively and unappologetic.