Klimt: Up Close and Personal
Paintings Letters Insights
Verlag Christian Brandstatter | ISBN 9783850336291
Hardback – 432 pages
Member’s price: $63.00
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The work of Gustav Klimt is world famous, but the man and artist behind these masterpieces has largely remained an enigma. In honour of Klimt’s 150th birthday, this book and an anniversary exhibition at the Leopold Museum shed new light on key works such as the allegory Death and Life, outstanding landscape paintings and drawings by Gustav Klimt. The pictures are juxtaposed here with original quotations as well as postcards, letters and telegraphs the painter wrote over a period of some twenty years to his lifelong companion, Emilie Flöge. Until now the conventional wisdom has been: ‘Even his friends were hardly ever permitted a glimpse behind the wall that Klimt built around himself’ (Hans Tietze, 1919). Now, for the first time, this book and the exhibition shift the focus to the artist’s private, personal side. A special role in this regard is played by Klimt’s studios, which served as a refuge from public life, a place where the artist was completely at one with himself, an erotic ‘hortus conclusus’ that was enshrouded by myth even in his lifetime. There, he also speaks to us as a collector of Japanese woodcarvings, African tribal art and Chinese paintings.