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Sumptuous and definitive,
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This review is from: Gustav Klimt - Complete Paintings (Hardcover)
The sumptuous and masterly book was published in 2012 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the birth of the artist; I could not conceive a better tribute to Gustav Klimt's artistic genius.
The magnificence of the color reproductions is hard to exaggerate while with respect to scholarship the book is destined to become a standard work of reference. The features that characterize Klimt's work appear in the book in all their glory:female beauty and sensuality, the opulence of his female portraiture, the splendor of his friezes, the poetry of his landscapes, and the uniqueness of his drawings.
Early works presented include the ceiling paintings for the staircases of Vienna's Burg theater and mural decorations for the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
After a painful creative crisis, the artist reinvented himself. With the founding of the Vienna Secession in 1897 and his election as its first president, Klimt announced his return as the standard bearer of Modernism. The Secession was the setting of the legendary 'Beethoven Exhibition' with Klimt's celebrated 'Beethoven Frieze', an event that saw efforts to create an integrated work of art that is unifying 'high' and 'applied art'.
We are subsequently presented with magnificent, folded, many paged, color reproductions of the mosaic frieze for the Palais Stoclet in Brussels. In the text we are intimated on the relationship between the frieze and the architecture of the Palais Stoclet and the proposed interpretation of the frieze as an artificial garden at the heart of the house.
The subject of women is central in Klimt's oeuvre, both in his portraiture and in his richly visualized allegories. Be in their reinterpretation of biblical figures such as Judith as 'femmes fatales', or in his classic portrait commissions, starting in 1897 with the portrait of Sonja Knips as the prelude to Klimt's Secessionist works, and leading to the first portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer with its opulent use of gold. Once again, however, we see Klimt reinvent himself and his painting, this time through the power of color in the female portraits and allegories of his late years. Klimt's female sitters - members of the assimilated upper bourgeoisie and often with Jewish roots - belonged with their families to the artist's most important patrons and collectors.
Klimt turned to landscape painting in the second half of his life, when he began taking annual breaks in the region of Lake Attersee. Klimt filtered and transformed seen nature to meet his own artistic requirements. In his landscapes, Nature is reconstituted into a visual poetry.
Drawing was a vital necessity of the artist. Klimt sketched his motifs thousands of times and probed the autonomy and self-sufficiency of drawings, just as he constantly tested the beauty and expressiveness of line.
The book will constitute a rare gem in your Art book collection.