Fine Art/Gustav Klimt

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Question
Kimts painting
Kimts painting  
I got a gift of Klimt's painting "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" reproduction.
I am interested in the painting's colors and the patterns of her skirt.
I also tried to understand why Klimt drew many paintings about "woman" and he used much gold color and geometrical patterns.
But I cannot find exactly answer for my question.....
So would you please help me to figure out:
1) why he drew many "women"?
2) using gold color and geometrical patterns?

Thank you so much!
Ps. If my question is out of your field, please let me know - I will much appreciate it.

Answer
Hello Mei, and  ni hao ma!
Many thanks, for the very   clear and direct question - concerning the Austrian artist -  Gustav Klimt who lived from 1862 - 1918.

You ask at the very first reading, a few things which appear at first - to be some  very simple  questions.

Unfortunately, because it is all about “Klimt”  then  I am afraid -  that we are rapidly heading into  the turbulent seas; of a tsunami.

Klimt's  1907painting, of Adele Bloch-Bauer

Part 1.

Klimt, and his obsession with women.

1) why he drew many "women"?

The period of history in this part of Europe, is rather like finding a single thread in a bowl of Chinese noodles.
It is not so easy to unravel a single thread, without finding that it is connected to many other threads.
Having said that, if you  then add a very  complex personality such as “Klimt “ to the  equation, then the bowl of noodles, suddenly becomes even  more complicated - and  a lot more spicy indeed.

If you take his painting of the  “Kiss” from 1907, which uses a female figure who is also believed to be his old companion/mistress  - called Emilie  Louise Floge.
Indeed Klimt was also an bit like a modern fashion designer in Paris, because  he was also a “fashionista.” He made many  different designs  and Emilie Louise Floge – she quite often modeled his designs for him.

However, it would be very fair and not an understatement - to say that “Klimt,  ” had a large fetish for the very complicated concept -  of what it means  “being  a woman.”  
Of course, there is not one single idea  - of what it means; to be a woman.

Klimt, he  spends a greater part of his life, examining this question -  and his own relationship to women in general.
Therefore, he was  always being shadowed by his own personal ideas of the female body, the female moods, the female desires, and the  ancient  Greek idea of feminine  power,  which all  belongs the nature and voices of the famous  - female siren’s -  in the Greek Odyssey .

It is  all rather complicated, because perhaps - a follower of Sigmund Freud might give one answer, and a follower of  Carl Jung might also  give a quite different explanation.
Maybe, Ronnie Laing  who is a more modern analyst, of the “modern” society,   and all of its many  quirky ideas and neurosis’s  - might   also argue,  that >> Klimt<<  -  he  was just a normal  “Homo Sappien” who was  just reacting normally – to an abnormal society.  

Understanding the human mind, is very much like walking through a minefield,  with only the help from a poor quality metal detector.
Perhaps it’s a bit like >>stinky dofu<<  some people love it, yet others - they are not so enticed by it.

However, it is no exaggeration to say that “Klimt” had  a very deep emotional  attraction to women, both physically and psychologically.
He was also the  father of  many children, probably,  some 14 - or perhaps a few more, are still hidden in the DNA of  the world today.
Klimt’s works - were not always  treated with any great  positive acclaim, at the time they were being exhibited.
Some works, were subject to the heavy hands of the  public censorship - because of the sexual nature and content.
In a nutshell, “Klimt” was  both addicted  to - and fascinated by - women, and he is very much like a >>  regular visitor <<  or  >> gambler <<<  is  - to the  poker tables at a Casino.

Leaving the psychological aspect of “Klimt” behind us, comes the next question.

Part 2.

History, decorative techinques and  oriental influences.

2) using gold color and geometrical patterns?

Very few  individuals in history, are the genial  "Einsteins" of  such  formulas as  E = mc².
So too with Klimt, who owes much to his artistic ideas to his  predecessors.
His decorative  techniques and ideas, all come from a great many sources.
He is clearly influenced by the ancient Egyptian art, as is to bee seen in the  clothing  on his painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer. ( the "all seeing" Egyptian eyes - amongst some  other  things)
Also another important figure  who is waiting in in the wings, is  called Siegfried Bing  (1838-1905) who  also had a profound influence on Klimt - and a great many others at that time.
Bing, he is a great exponent of Oriëntalisme, in the whole of the Art Nouveau era.

In fact, Bings influence on a whole generation of artists - is very much. under - valued.
Bing, he traveled extensively in the Orient, in the latter part of the 19th century and brought back a whole new idea of shapes and colours - into  European Art.
So in a way, Bing – he is also responsible for some of “Klimt’s” decorative pieces,  including many others  - of that time.

As to the use of Gold, there are >>  2 << very important points to remember, that his father was a gold engraver and that the ancient Greek poetry also is fascinated by a natural  material, which  literally -  takes millions of years to mature in the sea.
I am speaking of the material,  known as Amber, or Barnstein ( in German).
The ancient Greeks attributed  Amber -  to feministic behaviors  and the tears of the gods, which is like a fiery ball which sinks into the sea - at sunset.

Both gold and amber -  are, precious materials and perhaps like many  women themselves – these material are shrouded in their own particular mysteries.
This,  plus the exclusive nature of these  products, is probably why Klimt used them in his paintings.
However perhaps  Klimt -  because of his  very  minute and careful attention to detail – considered that only the very best materials should be used  for the women -  who he loved the most.
After all,  Adele Bloch-Bauer – she is the only known  woman,  who he painted  “ 2”  times!

Perhaps, to close on a slightly odd note - but  perhaps not an unrelated theme, concerning the painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer,  who is also  sometimes  - referred to as the “Lady in Gold”.

The father of Adele Bloch-Bauer, he was not only a  very wealthy banker, but he also the head of the Orient Railways, that were running services  from Berlin to Constantinople ( Istambul)
So in that respect, and also due to people like Bing – you might say that -  yes indeed,  that  painting of  Adele Bloch-Bauer, it   does indeed  join both  Oriental and Western concepts -  concerning Zen, Confucious  and Sigmund Freud.

I hope that this answer is of some use to you,  but perhaps all my own words are less important than those of “ Klimt” himself -  who said;

>> I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women... There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night... Whoever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures.<<

Enjoy the  poster of a painting, which has been  painted with great  love and  much attention to  the details.

Remember that it was once stolen by the nazis’, then it was made into a Hollywood films , and the original was purchase by  Ronald Lauder, who bought it for $135 million a century after Klimt, the most famous Austrian painter of his time,completed the society portrait of a young woman.

Take care. and zai jian.
David  

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Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

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