About this artwork

Although Klimt was not a prolific painter, he made thousands of drawings. Most of these were linked, albeit loosely, with painting projects. This drawing is thought to be a study for the painting Hope (Hoffnung). In German, 'Hoffnung' can also mean pregnancy. The painting features a naked, pregnant woman, but was originally intended to show a man with his arm held protectively round the woman's shoulders, as in this scene. Klimt's work was concerned with the great subjects of human existence - birth, love, suffering and death. This study of a couple is in keeping with that interest.

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt

Klimt was born in Vienna. He is probably best known for his portraits and paintings of mythological and allegorical themes. His work exudes a lush sensuality, evoking an age of luxury and optimism before the First World War. In his paintings, the figures are treated naturalistically but their clothing and the background is embellished with richly decorative patterns. Klimt also produced numerous drawings, many of which have an erotic aspect. In 1897, Klimt became the first president of the Secession group in Vienna. He also produced designs for the Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese Workshops).