BRONCIA KOLLER-PINELL’S MARIETTA, 1907: FACING TRUTH IN THE VIENNA SECESSION
Broncia Koller-Pinell’s Marietta, 1907, an ambitious painting of a female nude, is an outlier within the artist’s oeuvre in terms of both style and genre. This thesis interrogates the painting’s relationship to the canon of Viennese modernism: the work provides an opening-point to consider Koller-Pinell’s relationship to the “Klimt Group,” a faction of artists who in 1905 seceded from the original Secession group, founded in 1897. I argue that Marietta confronts and reinterprets Gustav Klimt’s Nuda Veritas (Naked Truth), 1899, a major icon of the Secession and referent to the nude as a symbol of truth. By questioning the gendering of art and the artist in the Secession, Koller-Pinell pointed directly to the conditions that barred women from full participation in the movement. Further, I discuss the artist’s adaptation of Neo-Byzantine style and Christian iconography in the painting, relating these aspects to religious tensions within Viennese society and to Koller-Pinell’s own identity as a Jewish woman. Lastly, by re-introducing Marietta back into the context of the 1908 Kunstschau alongside Koller-Pinell’s other works, I consider the role gender played in shaping the reception of women’s art. The organizers’ pointed refusal to include Marietta in the exhibition alongside more conventionally “feminine” works by Koller-Pinell illustrates the contradictions within the Secession’s stated aim to break down the borders between art and craft. This thesis thus builds upon recent feminist scholarship on the partial inclusion of women artists in the Secession, as well as the gendering of the artist, genre, and medium in modern Viennese art.
NotesDegree Awarded: M.A. Art. American University
Degree grantorAmerican University. Department of Art