Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gustav Klimt

While in LA, we visited The Getty museum and saw an exhibition on Gustav Klimt. I'm not into really into "fine art" per say but I've been a fan of Gustav Klimt for as long as I can remember. When I was little, my mother had "The Kiss" painting hanging around our house (you know the one) and I remember I would just sit and stare at it sometimes, becoming completely mezmerized. I mean, that probably only lasted about 2 minutes tops (I was just a kid!) but needless to say, that image is finely engrained into my brain  Without knowing anything about Gustav Klimt, I knew that he was the artist behind that painting and he became my absolute favorite. Because honestly, I didn't know any better. But to this day, he is still my favorite. Perhaps because it reminds me of my childhood? Or maybe because he is just so familiar to me? Or because I haven't learned enough about art history to find a replacement! But anyways, the exhibition was really special to me and actually made me love him even more! I got to explore the "studies" (aka the rough drafts) of what led up to all of his final pieces and it was really, really cool. And I got to see some art by him that I've never seen before. It was great. So in my love for Gustav Klimt, I've put together a little post for/about him:  
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True relaxation, which would do me the world of good, does not exist for me. -Gustav Klimt
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Amalie Zuckerkandl 
"A leading exponent of Art Nouveau, Klimt is considered one of the greatest decorative painters of the 20th century. His depictions of the femme fatale and his drawings treating the theme of female sexuality have assured him a place in the history of erotic art" -source

I am strangely drawn to the picture above... I think it's the colors? I don't know, want it. 
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Fish Blood
"Gustav Klimt was such a brilliant draftsman that he occupies a unique position worldwide. The central subject of his more than 4,000 sheets is the human – particularly the female – figure. From 1900 on, he revolutionized the depiction of the nude: his sophisticated erotic studies blazed the trail for the Austrian Expressionists’ uninhibited depiction of the human being, particularly for Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. "  -source
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Fritza Riedler
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And of course, the most famous one of them all! The Kiss

"Even though Klimt saw mankind as caught in the inexorable grip of the endless cycle of life and death, he found solace in the life-affirming forces of love and procreation, whose sacred character he celebrated with astonishing poetical force in such highly ornamental, modern icons as The Kiss." -source

"Just as the "Mona Lisa" has an enigmatic smile, "The Kiss" has its own curious expression. It's hard to tell if the woman welcomes the embrace. She almost seems asleep, perhaps dreaming of a perfect love and a golden wardrobe.... The ropes signify the love between the couple. It's hard to tell where one person stops and the other begins. In this moment, they are one." -source

"Canadian artist Charles Moffat backs up this first impression. He says that "The Kiss" is "widely considered to be the greatest painting ever, better than even the Mona Lisa." -source
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Standing Couple Embracing (study for The Kiss)
"In this study at right (the one above), Klimt explored a standing pose, which was to signify the apotheosis of the union between man and woman in The Kiss. Resplendently ornamented cloaks bind them into a single unified column. Silhouetted against the blank page in the drawing (the glittering cosmos in the final painting), they stand on the edge of the world, as symbols of the love that redeems humanity from its suffering." -source
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"The Virgin
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"The Three Ages of Women"
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Floating Female Figure with Outstretched Arm (Study for "Medicine") 
"The practice of daily drawing after nude or clothed models remained crucial for Klimt throughout his life. The artist produced innumerable studies of women and men of all ages, as well as of children, in the context of his painted allegories of life. Untiringly exploring his figures’ poses and gestures, he fathomed the essence of specific emotional values and existential situations. As if in a trance, his figures, anchored in the picture plane, submit to an invisible order, whether in states of dream, meditation, or erotic ecstasy. It is the idea of a fateful bond between man and the cycle of life determined by Eros, love, birth, and death that provided the background for this kind of representation. The numerous studies for his portraits of women convey an air of majestic enrapture." -source
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Girl with Long Hair, with a Sketch of "Nuda Veritas" (see it on the left?!)
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Adam und Eva
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Any other Gustav Klimt fans out there? Who's your favorite artist? 

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