Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Artist On Focus- Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt
(1862- 1918)
Austrian painter- one of  the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt's primary subject was the female body and sensuality. His works are marked by a frank eroticism.


   Golfish ( To My Critics)                                                                              Danae

Klimt's 'Golden Phase' was marked by positive critical reaction and success. Many of his paintings from this period used gold leaf; the prominent use of gold can first be traced back to Judith I (1901), although the works most popularly associated with this period are the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and The Kiss (1907–1908). Klimt travelled to Venice and Ravenna, both famous for their beautiful mosaics, most likely inspired his gold technique and his Byzantine imagery.
   The Kiss (1907–1908)

Klimt took three years to complete the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. It measures 138 x 138 cm and is made of oil and gold on canvas, showing elaborate and complex ornamentation as seen in the Jugendstil style.  The picture was painted in Vienna and commissioned by Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer- a wealthy industrialist who sponsored the arts and favored and supported Gustav Klimt.
Adele Bloch-Bauer, in her will, asked her husband to donate the Klimt paintings to the Austrian State Gallery upon his death. She died in 1925 from meningitis. When the Nazis took over Austria, her widowed husband had to flee to Switzerland. His property, including the Klimt paintings, was confiscated. In his 1945 testament, Bloch-Bauer designated his nephew and nieces, including Maria Altmann, as the inheritors of his estate.
As Bloch-Bauer's pictures had remained in Austria, the government took the position that the testament of Adele Bloch-Bauer had determined that these pictures were to stay there. After a protracted court battle in the United States and in Austria, binding arbitration by the Austrian court established in 2006 that Maria Altmann was the rightful owner of this and four other paintings by Klimt. After the pictures were sent to America, they were on display in Los Angeles in 2006 before the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I was sold to Ronald Lauder in June 2006. New York's Neue Galerie is reported to have paid $135 million for the looted Klimt portrait, Adele Bloch-Bauer I. The painting is the centerpiece of Lauder’s collection, Neue Galerie in New York. This collection has for years been in the process of recovering Jewish-owned art, mostly from Germany and Austria, that had been confiscated or looted by the Nazi government.

The Three Ages of Woman, 1905, Oil on canvas, 178 x 198 cm, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome

Later his art was influenced by Kokoshka, Egon  Schiele and the ideas of Expressionism:  presenting the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas to express meaningor emotional experience rather than physical reality.

Black Feather Hat, 1910

Portraits of wealthy members of Vienna society gave him financial independence and artistic freedom.

The Virgin, 1913

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