Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) is renowned as a quintessential artist of the Art Nouveau movement, but he was one of a number of Viennese artists who strove to break free of the constraints of the late 19th century academic art establishment.
Visual & Decorative Arts Blog
The twentieth century saw many radical changes in people’s lives: an increased pace of technological and industrial change; the rapid spread of large urban centres; the development of new means of transportation and communication; innovative scientific discoveries such as the X-ray and the theory of relativity; the growth of consumerism on a large scale; and the chilling reality of mass warfare. Against this background of social, political and technological developments, Western art also underwent a series of radical shifts.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, cultural hubs in Europe, such as the cities of Paris and Vienna, were experiencing growth in all aspects of the modern lifestyle. Art nouveau artwork effectively sold the glamour of this ‘fin de siècle’ atmosphere, the decadence of the bourgeois class and the changing social mores that were taking place. A key player in this was the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, who lived and worked in Paris for nearly 20 years and produced a huge number of influential artworks in the realm of commercial illustration. His decorative, curvilinear designs featured on not only posters but on a range of other products, earning him enormous success at the centre of the art world in Paris.
In part one of our Alphonse Mucha blog we looked at his amateur years, if you missed it just click here to take a look. We saw how Mucha’s early life built the stepping-stones for future opportunities. Today we look at the next phase of his life that started him on the road to his future fame.
When studying famous artists, educational systems and textbooks like to highlight the bigger picture of the artist’s life: they tend to gloss over the events that have contributed to someone’s fame and success. What about the before, middle and end secrets hidden between the cracks of an artist’s glorious publications?
Our new series of blank sketchbooks is set to showcase the works of art of a number of great artists, including the much-celebrated Gustav Klimt and his Tree of Life. A beautiful yet beguiling image, we thought we’d explore this work of art in more detail today, tracing its history and possible meanings as well as investigating its position in The Stoclet Frieze. Klimt is one of our favourite artists, and if you’re a fan too then a few of our previous blogposts may be of interest – we’ve written about Klimt and the Art Nouveau, and specific works like the Kiss and The Woman in Gold. The latter blog looked at the lavish gold coating Klimt employed as a technique, and the influence of his father (as a silver and gold engraver) in Klimt’s use of methods and materials. The Stoclet Frieze (1909), a group of Mosaics in the Stoclet Palace, was also designed and painted during Klimt’s ‘Golden Era’, and was actually the only landscape he created in this period.
Klimt is one of our favourite artists here at Flame Tree. Now, with the upcoming release of the movie Woman in Gold it's possible that this incredible artist may garner ever wider exposure.
What we can tell from the trailer is that the film's story centres on an Austrian woman (Helen Mirren) attempting to reclaim Klimt's famous picture 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer |', a woman whom Mirren claims was her aunt. Also featuring Ryan Reynolds as her (unnecessarily attractive) lawyer, the film sees the unlikely duo jetting off to Vienna with possession of the painting being their ultimate goal.
As well as his paintings, Alphonse Mucha was known for his illustrations, adverts, postcards, photography and many recognisable designs that were used in a myriad of ways. His distinct style is now recognised all over the world, and his works hang in the Mucha Museum in Prague.
Kay Nielsen was one of the great masters of illustration from 'The Golden Age of Illustration'. He was one of an entourage of talented artists that included Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac. Nielsen's art was influenced not only by these the men, but also by his contemporaries who varied in their choice of form and where they lived in the world. The result is an amalgam of influence that is represented in Nielsen's dreamlike artwork. A unique talent who suffered tragic pains before his death, in this blog we look at the brilliant artist that was Kay Nielsen.