Friday 14 October 2011

Gustav Klimt - part 3

Gustav Klimt in a Blue Smock by Egon Schiele 1913

This is part three of a three-part post on the works of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. For biographical notes on Klimt see part one.

1907-8 Hope II 
oil, gold and platinum on canvas

1909 Judith II 
oil on canvas

1909 Lady with Hat and Feather Boa

1909 The Tree of Life

1910 Lady with Back Feather Hat

1910 Schloss Kammer on the Attersee IV 
oil on canvas

1911-12 Farm Garden with Crucifix

1912 Apple Tree

1912 Avenue in Schloss Kammer Park 
oil on canvas

1912 Mäda Primavesi 
oil on canvas

1912-13 The Virgins 
oil on canvas

1913 The Church in Cassone

1913-14 Portrait of Eugenia Primavesi 
oil on canvas

1914 Portrait of Elisabeth Bachofen Echt

1916 Death and Life 
oil on canvas

1916 Fredericke Maria Beer 
oil on canvas

1916 Garden Path with Chickens 
oil on canvas

1916 Houses in Unterach on the Attersee

1916-17 The Friends 
oil on canvas

1917-18 Adam and Eve

1917-18 Portrait of Johanna Staude

1917-18 The Bride

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Gustav Klimt - part 2

This is part two of a three-part post on the works of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. For biographical notes and earlier works, see part one.

1901 Gold Fish (To my Critics)

1901 Judith and the Head of Holofernes 
oil on canvas

1901 Judith 
oil on canvas

1902 Emilie Flöge 
oil on canvas

1902 Portrait of Gertha Felsovanyi

1902 The Beethoven Frieze (detail)

c1904-7 Water Serpents II 
oil on canvas

c1904-7 Serpents I 
watercolour and gold paint on parchment

1904 Portrait of Hermine Gallia 
oil on canvas

1903 Pear Tree

1903 Hope I 
oil on canvas

1902-3 The Big Poplar II 
oil on canvas

1905 Margarethe Stonborough-Wittgenstein 
oil on canvas

1905 The Three Ages of Woman 
oil on canvas

1905-6 Farm Garden (Flower Garden) 
oil on canvas

1905-6 Farm Garden with Sunflowers

1905-9 The Stoclet Frieze, Expectation

1905-09 The Stoclet Frieze, Fulfillment

1907 Poppy Field

1907 Danaë oil on canvas

1907 Adele Bloch-Bauer's Portrait 
oil, gold and silver foil on canvas

1906-7 Sunflower

1906 Portrait of Fritza Riedler 
oil on canvas

Monday 10 October 2011

Gustav Klimt - part 1

This is the first of a three-part post on the life and works of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. When one thinks of the work of Secessionist artist Gustav Klimt, I’m sure that his most famous painting ‘The Kiss’ springs to mind, but it is of course just one of a large body of works. To show the genius of Klimt and how his work developed over his career I’m showing some sixty-eight works over three postings. Part one shows work from the years 1883 – 1901.

Gustav Klimt was born in 1862 in Baumgarten, Austria, the second seven children and the son of a poor jewellery engraver. It was at the age of fourteen, when he entered the University of Plastic Arts in Vienna, that he began developing his talent as an artist. He studied at the University until graduating at the age of twenty, at which time he had been commissioned to create several decorative works, making use of his training in modernist craftsmanship.

He then founded the Känstlercompanie (Company of Artists) studio with his brother Ernst, and Franz Matsch, a fellow student. The three found much success as mural painters, getting contracts from museums, theaters, and other decorative artwork for wealthy patrons. The company eventually ceased to exist, following the death of Ernst, and a falling out with Franz Matsch.

During his years as a decorator, Klimt finely honed his personal style, and the engraving skills his father had taught him. Klimt's paintings often included gold and silver paint, metal, and ceramics, and as much attention was given to ornamental details as to their subjects. Klimt also found inspiration in Byzantine mosaics, which he discovered while exploring Vienna.

In 1897, Gustav Klimt took an interest in politics and rallied other artists to found the Vienna Sezession, a Art Nouveau movement whose goal was to give young, innovative artists a chance to get exposure, and to revolt against the conservative attitudes of the academic art world. He organized several exhibits, attracting thousands from around the world to view their revolutionary art, and even published "Ver Sacrum", a monthly magazine about the movement and its artists. His own personal style came to represent the movement's aesthetics, and in 1902, he painted the "Beethoven Fries", a mural for the Sezession building.

In 1905, following a series of disagreements with other members of the Secession several others left the group, and formed a new association called the Kunstschau (Art Show). His famous painting ‘The Kiss’ was created between 1907 and 1908, but it is still associated with the Secession.

1907-8 The Kiss 
oil on canvas

Klimt was a very popular artist, but he was also quite controversial. He was renowned for his womanising, and often used prostitutes as models. Many of his works were considered too sensual for the mores of early 20th Century Vienna, and even his more historical, or mythical works featuring nudes were often criticised for being too erotic. Fortunately, the scandals only served to heighten Klimt's international recognition, if not his notoriety.

In addition to women, Klimt often travelled to the outskirts of Vienna, and the Italian countryside, finding inspiration in nature, particularly autumnal landscapes, which already showed the rich golden hues of his own decorative designs. From the opulence of the Viennese Bourgeoisie to the mythological, from eroticism to the simple beauty of nature, Klimt's artwork always maintained its highly stylized feel, but what remains one of its most fascinating traits is that while concentrating on the superficial, its depth cannot be ignored.

In 1917, he was made an honorary member the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. In January of the following year at the age of 55, Klimt suffered a stroke while working in his apartment. Weakened from the stroke, and suffering from pneumonia, he died less than a month later on February 6th, 1918.

1883 Fable 
oil on canvas

1886 The Theatre in Taormina

1886-8 Head of a Recumbent Man, Supporting Himself 

1889 Allegory of Sculpture 
pencil, watercolour, gold

1890 Joseph Pembauer 
oil on canvas

1894c Portrait of a Lady 
oil on wood

1895 Love

1895 Music I 
oil on canvas

1896 Junius 
chalk, pencil, gold

1896 Sculpture

1897 Tragedy

1897-8 Médecine (composition draft) 
oil on canvas

1898 Pallas Athene 
oil on canvas

1898 Portrait of Helene Klimt (his niece)

1898 Portrait of Sonja Knips

1898 Poster for the 1st Secession exhibition 

1899 After the Rain (Garden with Chickens in St Agatha)

1899 Nude Veritas oil on canvas

1899 Schubert at the Piano

c1899 Mermaids (Whitefish) 
oil on canvas

1900-07 Médecine (Hygieia) 
oil on canvas

1901 Buchenwald