Dreamers and Academics

1981

Not very many years ago the remarkable pictures which have been assembled for this catalogue would have been consigned to the guest wings of country houses and the billiard rooms of gentleman's clubs.

It is as it should be that Gustav Klimt and his school are now re-appraised as modern masters and that some of the Pre-Raphaelites' more voluptuous successors no longer inhabit the basements of provincial galleries.

The rehabilitation of so-called 'decadent art' is a healthy sign in contemporary taste. In a world where the bureaucrat and the machine dominate our culture is it so surprising that we should once more embrace those rare artists who prize above all things, the exquisite, the poetic, the speculative, even the libidinous and the merely beautiful?

Barry Humphries