In our Gustav Klimt Special Edition journals we celebrate one of the world’s most famous painters and his iconic paintings. Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter fascinated by Japanese art and the female form. He was a member of the Vienna Secession movement, and on trips to Venice and Ravenna he discovered the mosaics that would inspire his famed use of gold.
Klimt, The Kiss
The Kiss (1907–1908) represents the pinnacle of Klimt’s “golden phase.” Oil and gold leaf combine to create sinuous shapes and colours reminiscent of both Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles. The lustrous palette and intricate patterns make the painting one of the great masterpieces of the early modern period.
Klimt, Portrait of Adele
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), which took Klimt three years to create, is a stunning example of the Viennese Jugendstil style. With the subject’s face emerging from the background like a lucid dream, the portrait is hauntingly beautiful. Seized by the Nazis in the 1940s, the painting was eventually recovered and today is on display at the Neue Galerie in New York.