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The “Unknown Klimt” project reached its peak on 29th April. On that day, in the Sugar Palace, an exhibition with the works of Gustav and Ernst Klimt and their friend Franz Matsch, conceived back in 2014, was presented to the media. In the meantime, the exhibition has become one of the key moments of the Rijeka ECC 2020 project. It was hindered by the corona pandemic circumstances, but was not stopped. The excitement of the moment could be felt in the air. Before viewing the exhibition space and the holdings, the journalists were addressed by the guests, who spoke more about the completed project. The director of the Museum, Ervin Dubrović, thanked everyone who participated in the realization of the exhibition. The author of the exhibition, Deborah Pustišek Antić, said that the exhibition helped reveal the authorship of two Rijeka’s paintings, which turned out to be authored by Ernst Klimt. Austrian Ambassador Josef Markus Wuketich expressed satisfaction with the exhibition of the works of one of the biggest names in Austrian painting, and the director of the Rijeka 2020 Association, Irena Kregar Šegota, reminded that the “Unknown Klimt” is the last exhibition step within the Rijeka ECC project. Mayor Vojko Obersnel pointed out that the paintings testify that Rijeka has always been oriented towards culture and multiculturalism, and added that without the ECC project there would be neither the exhibition nor the Palace.

After the protocol part of the event, guests and journalists went to see the exhibition.  Everyone was impressed with the theatrical atmosphere, which emphasizes the glamorous component of the paintings, both the one of yesterday, when they were installed on the vault of the spectacular theatre building with the architectural signature of the Viennese atelier Fellner & Helmer, as well as the one of today, considering that the paintings can be seen by visitors for the first time after 136 years at a “normal” eye-level distance. The paintings were followed by multimedia and interactive projections with the works of Gustav Klimt from his post-Rijeka phase.

One interactive projection is intended for a younger audience. It connects Klimt’s theatrical paintings, including studies and drawings for individual Rijeka’s paintings, with Rijeka’s cultural heritage and wider historical-cultural context. The second brings a counterpoint to the youthful public work by talking about the painter’s later creative period. There you can see a series of erotic drawings which further tickled the interest of his contemporaries. Interestingly, Gustav Klimt became a world painting star as the author of 250 paintings on canvas, which is relatively few, but he left behind a much larger number of drawings.

The participants of the event also showed interest in the exhibition catalogue, with contributions by 15 leading domestic and international connoisseurs of Gustav Klimt’s works. The emphasis is on his earlier artistic phase, which means that the texts mostly talk about the influence of Gustav Klimt’s painting beginnings on the author’s upheaval that followed the Rijeka episode. The edition has 235 pages and is richly illustrated. The pictorial contributions do not only present works from Rijeka, but also works that show the influence of predecessors and contemporaries on the development of the most famous of the three painters who decorated the vault of the Rijeka theatre in 1885.

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