The Precipice Of Death

Artist:Paul Grabwinkler
Date:C. 1910
Medium:Watercolor On Artist's Paper
Dimensions:Sight Size 29 1/2 x 39 1/2" Framed 34 1/4" X 44"
Condition:Excellent
Original Use:Exhibited Fine Art
Price:$8500.00
Full view

Full view

The artist's signature lower right and frame corner profile

The artist's signature lower right and frame corner profile

Framed and silk lined under plexiglass in period gold gilt frame

Framed and silk lined under plexiglass in period gold gilt frame

Imbuing Botticelli's Birth of Venus with early 20th century anxieties about the increasing independence of the New Woman, this beautiful large format symbolist watercolor painting by the important Austrian artist Paul Grabwinkler (Wien, 1880 - 1946) shows a luscious nude on the cliffs with a skeleton at her feet. The clouds beneath her evoke classic Grecian mythology, and the haunting juxtaposition of life and death place the work in the tradition of Gothic romanticism. The darkly allegorical nature of the work is typical of Grabwinkler's work, which mixed classical imagery, post Impressionist style, and dark early modernist notes. Grabwinkler studied at the historic Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule and began his career as part of the Vienna secessionist / Jugendstil movement.  His work was featured at a Kunstlerhaus Jubilaums exhibition in Vienna in 1908. The artist went on to become a professor at the school of applied arts in Vienna for much of his career. Painting is handsomely framed and lined under plexiglass in a period ornate cornered gold gilt frame.

Detail

Detail

Detail

Detail

The motif of the maiden and the skeleton or skull was hugely popular in the early 20th century, modernizing traditional "Memento Mori" art--which reminded the viewer of the inevitability of death and seductive power of sin--to reflect the great fear of the day; the New Woman. As women became more visible outside the home in the industrializing world, and cosmetics, bicycles, and other tokens of modernity began being used by the younger generation to assert their independence, images of the femme fatale in consort with death began appearing all over. Both alluring and frightening, these depictions were perhaps the perfect metaphor for the shock these pioneering modern women gave to the old order.

 

The iconic early 20th century femme fatale Theda Bara pictured nude with skeleton

The iconic early 20th century vamp Theda Bara pictured nude with skeleton

A Mack Sennett bathing beauty plays Hamlet

A Mack Sennett bathing beauty plays Hamlet

Victorian vamp with skull

Valeska Suratt, the quintessential femme fatale, with skull



 

Contact Grapefruit Moon Gallery