Patter on silk presents the first portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, by Gustav Klimt, a leading representative of secession and an outstanding Austrian symbolist. The painting was made at the beginning of the 20th century, when individual portraits were popular with the richest people. It was no different in this work – the model was the wife (then fiancée) of the rich Austrian entrepreneur, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, who in this way to celebrate the beauty of another wife. Ferdinand decided to hire the most famous painter, Gustav Klimt, who at that time was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Klimt accepted the assignment, but he did not hurry up with the performance of the work – the painting was made after 4 years. Why? Historians point to Klimt’s relationship with young Adele, who in 1901, when she was turning twenty, was to lend face to another artist’s work: Judyta with Holofernes’ head. Most likely, the painter experienced a hot affair with a young noblewoman at the time, which Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer could not know. For a long time, Klimt wondered how to best reflect the beauty of Adele, he created more than 100 sketches that depict a young woman in various poses. The painting was made in the years 1903-1907, which belongs to the Golden Period of Klimt’s work. Golden literally and figuratively, because from this time the artist is best known, paintings from this period are the most desired by collectors and appreciated by critics, and the works themselves are decorated with gold flakes.
The form of Klimt’s paintings, especially during this period, is an inseparable element of a work of art, which must be given special attention during the analysis. Silver and gold in the portrait of Adele are real precious metals, oil paint is obscured – Klimt used it exclusively to give the skin a figure and finish fine background elements. In fact, the picture shimmers with shades of gold. Beautiful ornaments form the structure of Adele’s dress, and the whole can not be confused with anything else, you can easily see Klimt’s line. Among other things, for this reason, the first portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer was for a short time the most expensive work of art ever sold, and its price amounted to over EUR 135 million. It should also be noted that women had a special position in the art created by Gustav, as evidenced by the fact that about four thousand out of the five thousand sketches that have been preserved after the artist in good condition, the main characters are only women. Klimt loved painting them, he also loved eroticism, and he often said that: if anyone wants to understand me, he should look carefully at my paintings. Today, images of women with realistic faces, for which geometric or floral patterns are the background, are considered the domain of this artist. The first portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is considered a crowned example of such creativity. On the model’s dress you can see elements characteristic of Art Nouveau: patterns inspired by different periods of the art of ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, it is also easy to see the fascination of Japanese culture. The colors are bright here, the picture is asymmetrical and richly decorated. The artist broke with multidimensionality, only Adele’s face, hands and arms try to create it, which he replaced with geometry. An ideal culmination of the work is Klimt’s signature signature, with the date of completion of the work, which is incorporated into the pattern.
This image has the dimensions of a square with a side of 138 centimeters. It is privately owned and can be admired at Neue Galerie New York.