Gustav Klimt the painter has always tended to overshadow Gustav Klimt the draughtsman. One of the most fascinating representatives of the Belle Epoque, Klimt is chenshed for his rich use of ornament and his paintings of fin de siecle Viennese high society, which bring to life the decadence of the era through vibrant colours and patterns. Yet there can be no doubt about Klimt's greatness as a draughtsman. Remarkable above all is the intensely sensual mood that he establishes in his limpid, fluid drawings and watercolours; the line with which his subjects are described explores and caresses as though the drawing itself was an act of seduction.
Here, Rainer Metzger brings together hundreds of Klimt's works on paper in a way that enriches our knowledge of the artist and enhances the visual impact of his oeuvre. Many revolve around Klimt's taboo-breaking main themes - the naked woman, erotica and homoerotica - while others provide allegorical and historical insights. Between these two poles lie Klimt's elegantly direct and intoxicating preparatory sketches and studies, tirelessly and manically executed - frameworks that would lay the foundations for his paintings.
This book is a fitting testament to a hitherto neglected aspect of Klimt's art, which is as complex and contradictory as the times in which it was made and as the man who made it.
With 309 illustrations, 282 in colour