The unfading popularity of Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) attests not only to the particular appeal of his luxuriant painting but also to the universal themes with which he worked: love, feminine beauty, aging, and death.
The son of a goldsmith, Klimt created surfaces of ornate and jewel-like luminosity which show influence of both Egyptian and Japanese art. Through paintings, murals, and friezes, his work is defined by radiant color, fluid lines, floral elements, and mosaic-like patterning.
With a number of subjects dealing with sensuality and desire as well as anxiety and despair, all this iridescence is also suffused with feeling. Klimt's numerous images of women, characterized by curvaceous forms, tender flesh, red lips and flushed cheeks, were particularly charged with passion, at a time when such frank eroticism was still taboo in Viennese upper middle class society.
This book presents a selection of Klimt's work, introducing his pictorial world of decoration and desire, as well as his influence on artists to come.
Gilles Néret (1933–2005) was an art historian, journalist, writer and museum correspondent. He organized several art retrospectives in Japan and founded the SEIBU Museum and the Wildenstein Gallery in Tokyo. He directed art reviews such as L'?il and Connaissance des Arts and received the Élie Faure Prize in 1981 for his publications. His TASCHEN titles include Salvador Dalí: The Paintings, Matisse, and Erotica Universalis.