This unique exhibition showcases the early works of one of the most famous artists in history – paintings that were taken down from the ceiling of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc so that they could be restored and exclusively exhibited at the newly renovated 18th-century palace to which the City Museum of Rijeka is currently being relocated.

For the first time since 1885, when the artworks were displayed in their designated area in the auditorium, visitors will have the chance to see all nine paintings up-close. Except for the three large canvases, which were produced by Gustav Klimt, the other works were created by his brother Ernst Klimt and associate Franz Matsch.

The exhibition will showcase the early, neglected opus of one of the most prominent figures of European art, who remains largely unknown to the general public. He began his career working with his brother Ernst and his schoolmate Franz Matsch, both of whom helped him establish an artist association. Although still early in their careers, which were just starting to take off, this was the period when marked differences in the trio’s artistic and stylistic expression were becoming increasingly evident, and the Rijeka opus stands out as a kind of a harbinger of what was soon to follow. Matsch’s opus was to remain within the framework of academic painting while he himself would get lost as an artist among the multitude of fairly decent painters of the time. Conversely, Gustav Klimt would, in a radical turnabout, become one of the most famous painters of all time and, as head of the group of artists, he would bring about the most significant turning point in modern art history.

The exhibition will be held in a theatrical ambience and complemented by state-of-the-art technology.

Authors team: Deborah Pustišek Antić (HR), author and project manager, Ervin Dubrović (HR), project director and Klaudio Cetina (HR), creative director.