Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line

Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line

by Marian Bisanz-Prakken
     
 

The phenomenal draftsman Gustav Klimt occupies a unique place in modern art. His extant œuvre comprises some 250 paintings and more than 4,000 works on paper. The study of the human figure—above all female—lies at the heart of the artist’s activity as a draftsman, which he practiced assiduously. Through his study of the poses and gestures of

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Overview

The phenomenal draftsman Gustav Klimt occupies a unique place in modern art. His extant œuvre comprises some 250 paintings and more than 4,000 works on paper. The study of the human figure—above all female—lies at the heart of the artist’s activity as a draftsman, which he practiced assiduously. Through his study of the poses and gestures of his models, Klimt repeatedly examined the essence of particular psychological and existential states of being. In his constant quest for the ideal solution, Klimt often went beyond the preparation of his paintings, which, particularly after 1900, were dominated by the themes of Eros, Love, Life, and Death. His art cannot be understood without carefully considering the drawings, which are characterized by an unsurpassed mastery of line, in all the phases of his artistic development—from Historicism, through Stilkunst around 1900, the Golden Period, and up to his freer late work.

This lavishly illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition organized by the Albertina Museum in Vienna (March 13 to June 10, 2012) and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (July 3 to September 23, 2012) to mark the 150th anniversary of Gustav Klimt’s birth. In both venues, the emphasis will be placed on showing not only the variety of his draftsmanship, but also the centrality of drawing to Klimt’s artistic enterprise. Most of the works on display will come from the Albertina’s outstanding collection, one of the most extensive and representative groups of Klimt drawings in the world, complemented by select Austrian and international loans.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Published in conjunction with exhibitions at Vienna’s Albertina Museum in Vienna and L.A.’s Getty Museum to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s birth, this luscious hardcover offers 225 color illustrations, including many full-page plates of his drawings (the focus of both book and exhibit), both autonomous works and studies for paintings. In the accompanying text, Albertina curator Bisanz-Prakken (Rembrandt and His Time: Masterworks from the Albertina) follows the artist’s career from the “photographically realistic precision of the 1880s” to “the vehement and nervous handling of the line in his later years.” The contrast between the works on paper and the paintings is striking. The drawings, based on live models, exude a passion, warmth, and soulfulness that’s abstracted out of many of the paintings, which tend to focus on allegory and decorative aspects. As Klimt himself said in 1903: “‘The painter is not called upon to visualize an idea in a sensual way but rather to decorate a space.’” Yet Klimt’s chalk and pencil, with exquisite draftsmanship, evoke a compelling humanity that may appeal to art lovers who find his more formal work too stylized. For those who can’t make it to the Getty exhibit, this book is the next best thing. (July)
From the Publisher
"Klimt's chalk and pencil, with exquisite draftsmanship, evoke a compelling humanity that may appeal to art lovers who find his more formal work too stylized. For those who can't make it to the Getty exhibit, this book is the next best thing."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606061114
Publisher:
Getty Publications
Publication date:
07/10/2012
Edition description:
1
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
644,537
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 11.60(h) x 1.00(d)

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