Monday, March 18, 2013

Klimt, Gustav

Farm Garden with Crucifix
oil on canvas
110 x 110 cm
Destroyed in 1945 (private collection)

Farm Garden with Crucifix was destroyed by a fire set by retreating German forces in 1945 at Schloss Immendorf, Austria. This painting marks the beginning of a group of works where the tendency goes toward a transition of the individual form and color as well as an involvement with linearisme. The crucifix does not exist any more, but we know that it was situated near the snack-bar between Kammerl and Weyregg on Lake Atte.

"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." (Klimt)
Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. He was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, Austria and was educated at the Vienna Kunstgewerbe Art School. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism.

His work is distinguished by an elegant use of gold backgrounds and mosaic patterns. His elaborate, explicitly sensual works expressed themes of regeneration, love and death, and incorporated Egyptian, Classical Greek, Byzantine and Medieval styles. He was also inspired by engravings of Albrecht Durer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Ukiyo-e. In synthesizing these diverse sources, Klimt's art achieved both individuality and extreme elegance.

Laying the groundwork for Art Deco and Modernism, Klimt’s creative influence can still be seen in today’s art, decorations and jewelry. He died in Vienna of pneumonia and was interred at the Hietzing Cemetery, Vienna.