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Gustav Klimt, 1862-1918, Minerva or Pallas Athena, 1898
To commemorate 100 years since the death of Gustav Klimt we're delighted to have launched a collection of three stunning pocket squares. Gustav Klimt's use of classical myth iconography is directly derivative of antiquity in his many images of Athena. The outstanding image of this goddess is his Pallas Athene of 1898. She is strikingly different from his reknowned femmes fatales whose sexuality is overwhelming. Here it is the divinity which Klimt finds more interesting, rather than her sexuality, not surprising given the gender ambiguities she demonstrated in Greek antiquity. A striking and bold image that sits wonderfully in our collection and beutifully versatile in the pocket.
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Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and the leader of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. In addition to the figurative works he is best known for, and which include allegories and portraits, he also painted stunning landscapes.
Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations and, as he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions but achieved a new success with the paintings of his "golden phase", many of which include gold leaf.
Klimt was a master of symbolism and embedded allusions to sexuality and the human psyche in his rich, lavishly decorated figures and patterns. The messages—often of pleasure, sexual liberation, and human suffering— were thinly veiled. His bolder, more risqué pieces, depicting voluptuous nudes and entwined bodies, scandalized the Viennese elites. Even so, the city’s establishment still adored his work and frequently commissioned him to paint their portraits. His peers were similarly enthralled with his style, recognizing his groundbreaking injection of sexuality, atmosphere, and expression into figurative painting.
Vienna Secession - Klimt became one of the founding members and the president of the Wiener Sezession (Vienna Secession) movement in 1897. He remained with the Secession until 1908. The aims of this group were to provide exhibitions for unconventional young artists, to bring the works of some of the best known foreign artists to Vienna, and to publish its own magazine to showcase the work of its own members. The group had no manifesto as such and did not set out to encourage any particular style—Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists all coexisted. Their efforts were supported by the government and they were given a lease to erect an exhibition hall on public land. The group's symbol was Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of just causes, wisdom, and the arts—of whom Klimt painted his radical version in 1898.
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