Sunday, November 14, 2010

portrait of the artist: gustav klimt

(The Kiss, 1908)

Gustav Klimt is another one of my very favorite artists (I just ordered a print of The Kiss for our living room!). His mastery of shape and color is extraordinary, and I am particularly charmed by his use of gold leaf in many of his paintings. I love how he so often imagines characters in elaborate technicolor garments. There is a psychedelic quality to his work that is endlessly fascinating in its intricacy, and so many of his paintings look like they were intended to be a beautiful patchwork quilt.

(Stoclet Frieze [Expectation, The Tree of Life, Fulfillment], c.1909)

(Water Serpents II, 1907)

(The Maiden, 1912-13)

(Death and Life, 1916)

(Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907)

(Hope II, 1907-08)

(Music, 1895)

(Mother and Child, 1905)

(Beethoven Frieze: Hostile Powers [left panel], 1902)

(Beethoven Frieze: Hostile Powers [right panel], 1902)

(Goldfish, 1902)

(Water Sprites, 1899)

(Garden Path with Chickens, 1916)

(A Field of Poppies, 1907)

(Forest of Birch Trees, 1902)

(Houses at Unterach on the Attersee, 1916)

(Water Castle, 1908)

Usually when I do these little artist e-galleries I put the pieces in chronological order so you can get a sense of the artist's technical progression and see how their style emerges and becomes increasingly defined. In Klimt's case (perhaps with the exception of his very early work--see Music, above), I didn't see such a distinct evolution of technique, and I thought it would make more sense to arrange the paintings in a more aesthetic order--from his portrayal of the feminine mystique to elegant pastorals, with life and death in between.

What is your favorite Klimt piece?


  1. I love your portrait of an artist features, and Klimt is one of my favorites, too. :) The forest of birch trees one is stunning.

  2. I love Kimt too. : ) I enjoyed seeing some of his less famous work here, espeically Garden Path with Chickens, Water Sprites and Forest with Birch Trees. I'm sure The Kiss will cosy your living room right up.

  3. These are so beautiful! I really love the 'Music' one. Thanks for sharing these!

  4. My parents used to have a tiny book with his art in it that sat above the toilet. How's that for cultured? haha

  5. I love the (Forest of Birch Trees, 1902) & I am reveling in the fun spirit of these pieces & page ; Thank You for presenting ~

  6. I can't help but notice you left out "Judith and the Head of Holofernes." I do like "The Maiden," though, which i don't think i've seen before.