The Dancer is an early 20th-century symbolist Art Nouveau painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. This work is currently in a private collection.
The Dancer Analysis
This is a late painting by Gustav Klimt depicting a young dancer dressed in Oriental fashion, with her breasts bare and holding a posy of yellow flowers.
The painting may have originally been based on Ria Munk, whose portrait was commissioned by her father following her suicide. As Klimt’s offering was then rejected by the commissioner — Klimt’s painting having struggled with the memory of Ria’s face and having been judged insufficiently joyful — Klimt likely finished the composition with the help of a model, most likely a dancer. The painting was in his studio at the time of his death and is considered unfinished.
The Dancer’s face was certainly redone. Presently it shows a bluish hue which contrasts with the rest of the woman’s complexion. Her serene expression is turning to our left without looking at us in the manner of many Klimt portraits.
Red and pink floral arrangements occupy the upper register to the right, while to the left we see nondescript human shapes dressed in similarly loose Oriental clothing. In The Dancer, we also note the fashionable Louis heels with frills on the front. Klimt is envisioning a notion of contemporary female fashion inspired by Japanese culture. The painting has thereby a strong Realist quality.
The theme of The Dancer is sensuality. In this key, we appreciate the main subject’s bare breasts, her satisfied expression, the anodyne flowery setting, and the strongly scarlet atmosphere.
The Dancer Location
This work is currently in a private collection.