Monday, November 9, 2015

Towards the End: Klimt's Portraits

A few years ago I wrote about the early works of Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). Now let's take a look at some portraits he made using a style different from that of his most famous paintings.

If you are interested in viewing the latter in person, the best place to go is Vienna, and once there, I strongly suggest visiting the Belvedere, which has his iconic "Kiss" (1907-08). More information regarding Klimt is here.

For what little it might be worth, I'm not enthusiastic about most of the people-related paintings he made during the last six or eight years of his life.


The Black Feather Hat - 1910
No decorative detailing here. Perhaps Klimt was in the process of reconsidering his style.

Portrait of M├Ąda Primavesi - 1912

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II - ca. 1912

Portrait of Friedericke Maria Beer - 1916
Although painted several years apart, Klimt used a similar composition for these portraits -- the subject facing the viewer, taking up roughly the middle third of the painting with the rest occupied by decorative elements to varying degree.

Lady with Fan - 1917-18
For much of his career, Klimt painted "busy," detail-filled paintings. Here the contrast in colors between the subject's flesh and most of the rest helps pull the lady's image into dominance.

Paint sketch portrait  1917

Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Ria Munk III) -- 1917-18
I include these two works because they show Klimt's technique from shortly before his death.  Very sketchy, so details had to emerge and get firmed up as he proceeded. Quite the opposite from how he must have worked in his early, academic-influenced days.

1 comment:

Hels said...

Cool post! Klimt had had a very loving relationship with his female models. Perhaps as he got into his 50s, he became less interested in them or they became less interested in him. In either case, his last female portraits were more boxy, less feminine than before.