3/07/2014

Bare Trees: Gustav Klimt

Artist Linda Hicks has recommended Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918) for the current theme of bare trees.
I had never enjoyed Klimt until recently when a book and more got me hooked. I've been visiting the Neue Galerie*, which is two blocks north of the Metropolitan Museum.  
Klimt's landscapes, so different from his jeweled portraits, have impressed me to consider views I never painted before, such as crowded growths. I often walk Fresh Pond in Cambridge MA, and see people shapes and movements in the trunks and branches of trees. When I ask others if they did as well...I get a blank look and "no."
My blog on the topic can be seen at Drawing Time: June 2013 
*Neue Galerie New York is a museum devoted to early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design, displayed on two exhibition floors.
Most of Gustav Klimt's landscapes were painted while he was on summer holiday, with the trees in full leaf, but today we'll  look at the ones that focus particularly on the trunks and bare branches:

Beech Forest I oil on canvas 1902

 Birch Forest oil on canvas 110 x 110 cm 1903

Fir Forest 1 oil on canvas 90 x 90 cm 1901

The Tree of Life 1909
I have never painted a self-portrait. 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... Who ever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures. 
- Gustav Klimt

6 comments:

  1. I love that you found the Klimt commentary about Klimt's never painting a self-portrait, which is the opposite of my inclination. Our Cambridge Art Association book club is reading The Painted Kiss, a novel about Klimt and friends I particularly enjoyed Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making, 2001, Abrams, National Gallery of Canada show.

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    1. Thanks Linda for your great idea. I think I prefer his landscapes to his figures- do you? Anyhow, that novel must be juicy, as I've read that Klimt had many lovers, and fathered 14 children. Thanks for the title.

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  2. Love Klimt! I didn't realize how Austrian his paintings were -- how he picked up the classical Austrian designs and motifs until I saw his work hanging in the palace/museum in Austria. Thank you for putting together this page.

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  3. 'Love this artist, and I always will!!!

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  4. I adore Klimt. His landscapes are often overlooked. Linda, I was at that show too and it was wonderful. Thanks Taryn!

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