Klimt

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By Gilles Néret

The unfading popularity of Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) attests not only to the particular appeal of his luxuriant painting but also to the universal themes with which he worked: love, feminine beauty, aging, and death.

The son of a goldsmith, Klimt created surfaces of ornate and jewel-like luminosity which show influence of both Egyptian and Japanese art. Through paintings, murals, and friezes, his work is defined by radiant color, fluid lines, floral elements, and mosaic-like patterning.

With a number of subjects dealing with sensuality and desire as well as anxiety and despair, all this iridescence is also suffused with feeling. Klimt’s numerous images of women, characterized by curvaceous forms, tender flesh, red lips and flushed cheeks, were particularly charged with passion, at a time when such frank eroticism was still taboo in Viennese upper middle class society.

Each book in Taschen’s Basic Art series features a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance, a concise biography, and approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captions.

Hardcover with jacket, 96 pages

Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.5 x 0.5 inches

“Whoever wants to know something about me, they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.” — Gustav Klimt

Sleeping Child, Graphite pencil on cream wove paper, c. 1905/1907 by Gustav Klimt is included in the Detroit Institute of Arts' Prints, Drawings and Photographs Collection.