Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Landscape Tour with Klimt

Gustav Klimt 1862-1918
         Gustav Klimt's art is highly recognizable in our contemporary world for its iconic images of human figure.
There is nothing that special to see when looking at me. I'm a painter who paints day in day out, from morning till evening - figure pictures and landscapes, more rarely portraits.

Kiss by Gustav Klimt 1907
Hope by Gustav Klimt

I studied his figures for some of my own work and tried to imitate it through drawing and painting, but it is his landscapes that really made an impression on me.

"Hands" after Gustav Klimt by Dorota Quiroz, 1998
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907

Life and Death after Gustav Klimt 
by Dorota Quiroz, 1998

Death and Life by Gustav Klimt, 1916
Klimt's landscapes are absolutely amazing. They are borderline obsessive with its mark making and patterns. They are to be viewed from the distance, yet there is so much visual pleasure when you view them from up close. The subject matter is your average countryside around the Lake Attersee in Austria, plain and lazy, yet his perspective, colors, patterns and brush marks make it magical.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the father of Transcendentalism wrote in the first series of essays (published in 1841) about Art:
"Thus in our fine arts, not imitation but creation is the aim. In landscapes the painter should give the suggestion of a fairer creation than we know it. The details, the prose of nature he should omit and give us only the spirits and splendor. He should know that the landscape has beauty for his eye because it expresses a though which is to him good [...] He will give the gloom of gloom and the sunshine of sunshine."  
Makes me wonder if his writings reached Gustav Klimt and his circles because his landscapes are not an imitation, but artist's true vision and essence of countryside.

Here is a chronological view of his landscapes. 
Notice the simplicity, shapes and color blocking of his early landscapes. 
It progresses into mark making and patterns. 
Enjoy the tour!

Orchard by Gustav Klimt, 1896

After the Rain (Garden with Chickens
in St. Agatha), 1899
Quiet pond in the park of Appeal by Gustav Klimt, 1899
Farmhouses with birch trees by Gustav Klimt, 1900

Swamp by Gustav Klimt, 1900
Attersee by Gustav Klimt, 1900
The tall poplar trees 2 by Gustav Klimt, 1900
Lakeside with birches by Gustav Klimt, 1901
Fruit Trees by Gustav Klimt, 1901

Fir forest I by Gustav Klimt, 1901
I think this is where I saw first the great way of painting woods and started obsess with painting them myself over and over again. These next 5 paintings below are poor attempts to imitate Klimt's woods.

Birches by Dorota Quiroz, 2004

Birch Woods by Dorota Quiroz, 2011

In the Woods by Dorota Quiroz, 2004
Yellow Birches by Dorota Quiroz, 2011

Green Birches by Dorota Quiroz, 2013

Back to Klimt's Landscapes

Island at Attersee by Gustav Klimt, 1902

The Big Poplar II, 1903

These gloomy poplars melt into gray sky and become one with it. I want to see it in person to verify the colors for myself... it's so moody... a perfect painting for a dark, gray rainy day.

 Buchenhain and Beech Grove (same composition but different colors) are my favorite wood landscapes by Klimt. The settled colors of the woods, the lack of sharpness between shapes and the tilted edge of the woods in the background are three things that inspire me to imitate. I am still very far from getting my landscapes to that point, but I'm working on it.

Beech Grove I by Gustav Klimt, 1902

Buchenhain by Gustav Klimt,  1902

The Birch in a Forest by Gustav Klimt, 1903
"The birch in a forest" is an odd piece that stands out among all the others. Highly focused and detailed composition of one tree seems like an attempt to try something different. Was Klimt testing other approaches? Was he influenced by something he saw or read? Or maybe he was getting tired of his compulsive obsessive style? After looking at what follows, he probably just took a short detour.

The Pear Tree by Gustav Klimt, 1903

Farmhouses with Birch Trees by Gustav Klimt, 1903
Where are the farmhouses in "Farmhouses with Birch Trees"?
All I see are birches and 2 blue flowers pasted smartly against contrasting orange leaves.

Roses under the Trees by Gustav Klimt, 1905 
Landscape Garden by Gustav Klimt,  1906
Country Garden with Sunflowers by Gustav Klimt, 1905-6
The Sunflower by Gustav Klimt, 1906-7
Poppy Field by Gustav Klimt, 1907
Flower Garden by Gustav Klimt, 1905-7
Water Castle by Gustav Klimt,  1908
Blooming Field by Gustav Klimt, 1909

Schloss Kammer am Attersee II by Gustav Klimt, 1909

The Schloss Kammer on the Attersee III by Gustav Klimt, 1910

Schloss Kammer on the Attersee, IV by Gustav Klimt, 1910

Park by Gustav Klimt, 1909-10
The house of Guardaboschi by Gustav Klimt, 1912
Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park by Gustav Klimt, 1912
Apple Tree I by Gustav Klimt, 1912

Farmhouse in upper Austria by Gustav Klimt, 1911-12
Farm Garden with Crucifix by Gustav Klimt, 1911-12
Malcesine on Lake Garda by Gustav Klimt, 1913

Church in Cassone by Gustav Klimt, 1913
Litzlberg am Attersee by Klimt, 1914-15
"Litzlberg am Attersee" landscape sold at Sotheby's in 2011 for $ 40.4 mil.

Country house by Attersee by Gustav Klimt, 1914

Park of Schonbrunn by Gustav Klimt, 1916

Church in Unterach on the Attersee by Gustav Klimt, 1916
Apple Tree II by Gustav Klimt, 1916
Garden with Roosters by Gustav Klimt, 1916

Houses on Unterach at the Attersee by Gustav Klimt, 1916

Italian horticultural landscape by Gustav Klimt, nd
Horticultural Landscape with a hilltop by Gustav Klimt, nd

Untitled by Gustav Klimt, nd
To see Klimt's work in person visit:
To learn more about Gustav Klimt's artwork check out these sources:

Gustav Klimt Landscapes by Stephen Koja

Gustav Klimt: The Complete Paintings by Tobias Natter

 (Most of the Gustav Klimt's images of artwork were retrieved from wikipaintings.com)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Start a conversation here!