Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Women by Gustav Klimt

Freundinnen, nachts rechts liegend (1905)

Although Klimt produced a lot of erotic drawings his most successful are those featuring one woman.  He kept a selection of models in his large studio and used to wander from room to room drawing them as he saw fit.  Many of the poses these models assumed would have been very recognisable to readers of Penthouse and similar magazines in the mid to late seventies when women's pussies became exposed to the wider world through magazine pictures for the first time. 

Reclining nude girls with stockings (1900)

Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse was, of course, a painter himself and had lived in Europe so he may have been familiar with Klimt's erotic drawings; although as late as 1966 an Italian judge was still deeming them obscene and having them confiscated so they were not as well known as today.  Certainly. in most of his erotic drawings of women, Klimt drew attention to his model's pussies unlike any previous serious artist (with the possible exception of Rodin).

Zwei auf einem Ruhebett liegende Frauenakte (1916)

His sketches of two women together are altogether less explicit and more tender and we show a few of those today.  We don't know much about Klimt's models as one of his lovers, Emilie Flöge, burnt all his correspondence on his death.

Oddly, for Triple P his most erotic girl/girl painting is The Friends (1916), supposedly a portrait of a real lesbian couple.  Klimt does get across very strongly, not only the personalities of the two women, but also some idea of their realtionship as well.  We suspect this may be the Klimt picture which photographer Ken Marcus mentioned as being so influential on his own work.  Sadly, this picture was destroyed in 1945.

Zwei auf dem Rücken liegende frauen (1905)

The Art Nouveau movement, or Secessionsstil in Austria, was very much about linear art and blocks of colour.  Tonal quality was very much subservient to line and Klimt was undoutedly a master of line.  We will look at Klimt's life in more depth another time.

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