Magda Mautner Markhof by Gustav Klimt
Study/portrait of Magda Grasmayr, the ninth child of Carl Ferdinand Mautner von Markhof.
Gustav Klimt drew her in 1904 with black pen on paper, 55 x 34.6 cm
Magda was born on April 14, 1881 in Vienna and, thanks to the influence of her mother Editha Freiin Sunstenau von Schützenthal, grew up in a household in which the artistic elite of the time regularly got together. Besides Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Kolo Moser also Bruno Walter and Gustav Mahler were regular guests in the family palace on Vienna’s main street Landstraßer Hauptstraße.
She appeared as a young girl when, on November 18, 1903, she and her mother became co-founders of the “New Women’s Club”. Magda, like her mother and sister Ditha (married to Koloman Moser), was very art-minded and graduated from art school in Vienna under Alfred Roller and as well completed painting lessons with Maurice Denis in Paris. Her doll’s house was the central object of an exhibition of the Secession under Adolf Böhm. Her apartment and studio furnished by Josef Hoffmann developed into a prestigious stomping ground where Albert Paris Gütersloh and Alfred Gerstenbrand liked to socialize.
Magda aimed to compile a collection of contemporary Austrian art. For example, she owned the Gustav Klimt painting Hope I, 1903, originally acquired by Fritz Waerndorfer. She also bought the Egon Schiele painting Autumn Tree in Stirred Air (Winter Tree), in 1912, which she acquired for a total of 400 crowns. “I am now sending you 100 crowns, 200 crowns in November, then 100 crowns in December. I prefer the two landscapes more than your figurative works, which are often quite strange to me. By watching your drawings, I also have the feeling that you have a completely different view of things than I do. Nevertheless, I would like to have one of your works because I would like to fully represent young Viennese art in my collection.”
In 1913, she married the teacher Alois Grasmayr, who came from an Innviertel peasant family, with whom she moved to Salzburg, where they purchased a villa on the Mönchsberg, the Bristol and Stein hotels, as well as two inns and a mountain farm. The house on the Mönchsberg became a social centre for artists and writers in the interwar years. Magda herself published poems in a Viennese daily paper, Alois his “Little Faust Book”, which was intended to explain the content of Goethe’s Faust I and II to a wider audience in dialect language.
Magda died on August 22, 1944 in Salzburg, Alois followed on March 11, 1955.
Written by Theodor Heinrich Mautner Markhof