Sunday, June 6, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt, Birch Forest, oil on canvas, 1903. (source)

Gustav Klimt, Garden Path with Chickens, Oil on canvas, 1916. (source)

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907, Oil & Gold on canvas. (source)

I find Klimt's range of images really staggering, as well as his definite style, that somehow manages to persist even if he's painting a representative portrait. His landscapes are intriguing me right now, they feel like interior spaces to me- intimate- which is the antithesis to the usual prairie landscape that I'm immersed in. I would love to capture that intimate feel within the vastness of the prairies.


  1. Interesting Angie. I find so much going on within each of these much to look much to distract, or entertain, the eye...yet, the subjects pop out at you first. They seem very path oriented paintings to me; the dress takes you to her, the path leads you to the chickens, and the trees lead you deep into the forest. Where else could the paths within the paintings lead you????
    As far as comparing this to our vast the big sky the distraction; the lure? When I lived in the country I used to think of all the people driving by on the highway who might be thinking 'nothing much is going on here' yet so much does happen...I found the praires a contradiction toward the end of my time there. Open and free (in space and in what a city person expects the country to be). Yet so oppressive (in the micro-society's thoughts and ways). So, those are just some of my thoughts on the art above and where it leads me to think....hmmm, guess that answers my question of where else the paintings can lead you!! Love you! Jenny

  2. Part of what is so interesting in Klimt's works is the way that the patterns highlight the simple subject- i.e. the dress leads you to her hands, the visually complex aspects seem to compliment and draw you to the simple parts.

    What I find challenging about portraying the prairies- which is a landscape I find really appealing- is that the granduer of an 'open' sky often translates as empty looking,when in reality it's anything but.

    I'm also not sure that the oppressive 'micro-society' is limited to country life, I'm pretty sure you can find that anywhere.

    Klimt's work actually is informed by the First World War(he lived in Vienna), as well as Freuds' 'Interpretation of Dreams'- so your feeling of oppression isn't far off- I think possibly it's the patterns taking over the figure(as well as the distorted figures themselves),with the flat layer of gold leaf hovering over the painted surfaces that gives them that feeling.

  3. Interesting facts on Klimt. I know the oppression is in the eye of the beholder in some respects. In my case, nothing is more freeing than city sounds....not to say there is no freedom in country (just not as much as I expect) and no oppression in city (prob more than I realize)its just what I see for now. :) Jenny