Gustav Klimt is one of the few artists who depicted pregnant women. They are intriguing works, reflecting on the beginning and end of life, the danger of childbirth as well as female and infant mortality.
‘Die Hoffnung’ I and II – The Hope I and II are the titles of his works. ‘Guter Hoffnung sein’ (to be of good hope) is an antiquated German phrase for expecting a baby. One hoped for, rather than expecting a good outcome of a pregnancy.
Klimt’s earlier work dates to 1903 and depicts a nude pregnant woman. It had to be withdrawn from his first Secession retrospective and is today held in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. It was followed by The Hope II in 1907, a clothed pregnant women, which better fit standards of propriety and decency of the early 20th century. It is shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.