- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Prestel; Slp edition (October 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3791337645
- ISBN-13: 978-3791337647
- Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 12.4 x 1.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,438,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Klimt Slp Edition
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From the Inside Flap
This uniquely exhaustive survey of the leading artist of Viennese Art Nouveau style offers art lovers an irresistible opportunity: page after page of Klimt's paintings and frescoes along with illuminating commentary about his life and career. The author presents Klimt's entire painted oeuvre on an unprecedented scale.
About the Author
Alfred Weidinger is associate director of the Albertina Museum in Vienna.
Top customer reviews
Book itself is very big. Attracts lots of attention of guests :).
A big carton cover is not of the best quality. It was easily damaged by sinply pulling the book out of it. be careful.
Klimt has been my favourite painter for over 20 years, and I had imagined that a giant-size tome of the complete paintings would be a revelation. As I turned the pages just now, my rating steadily fell from four to three to two stars.
Firstly, from the way that the book has been designed, there is absolutely no reason for it to be more than 30 X 25 cm. The majority (I do not use this word metaphorically) of the pages in the essay section (about 3/4 of the book) are at least 70% text, and the illustrations are mainly half-postcard size. When more than fifty percent of the page is actually used for illustration, more often than not, they print a detail of a painting without a picture of the full painting (except in the catalogue at the end - we will come to that).
There are no measurements quoted for the paintings in the main section of the book, and often, the fact that the illustration is only a part of the painting is not mentioned.
The paintings are definitely secondary to the text and used to illustrate the essayist's point, rather than the text being secondary to the paintings or a celebration of the paintings. I can understand this in an academic pamphlet, but an 18" X 12" book? Moreover, in many of the pages, vintage photographs, drawings, and paintings are thrown together on the same page willy-nilly in what is at best a very pedestrian, and at worst, a poor layout; even worse is the juxtaposition of totally disparate paintings (in miniature scale) right next to each other, which detracts from both the works, or juxtaposition of the works of Klimt and other contemporary artists, reproduced in the same size (instead of Klimt's works taking priority as would be the normal, and much preferable convention) so that the page resembles nothing more than one of those dark Victorian galleries where unrelated paintings are hung on top of each other on the wall.
Then we come to the actual quality of the reproductions: they just all look slightly less than sharp, and what perplexed me at the beginning was why I did not get that little flutter in the stomach which I always get when I see an illustration of one of Klimt's paintings (most of them anyway) - I had just bought the "Ronald S Lauder and Serge Sabarsky collection" of Klimt, which I really enjoyed even though it illustrated only a fraction of his oeuvre, and so I put them side by side for comparison. The reproductions from the "complete paintings" are definately not sharp by comparison, and the color separation is also very poor - for example, the Emilie Floge portrait looks really dull and flat as there is a heavy brown tint to the background compared to the Lauder reproduction, and the blue tones of the ground have completely disappeared. Sometimes, it is more subtle; for example, in the Beech Trees, both books reproduce this as an approx. 3X3 inch illustration, but the complete paintings version is just slightly less focussed, the overall effect being that the painting just appears dull, whereas in the Lauder version, the colors scintillate and dance in your vision. This is repeated in painting after painting. As for the catalogue raisonne at the back - the paintings are reproduced in an approximately 3 X 3 inch size, and even at this size, they are not sharp. The landscapes are mostly dull-looking, and to fill in the large page, there are three columns of text - in fact, in the same size font as the normal sized Lauder book.
With only 325 paintings, they could have produced a catalogue of 400 - 450 pages with full page illustrations of every painting, some detailed reproductions, and essays attached, which would have been definitive. As it is, you have a large unwieldy tome that is mainly text, where the poor quality of the reproductions and the dreadful layout have all but destroyed the magic of Klimt. The only relief is that the catalogue raisonne "thumbnails" are not in black and white as is often the case.
Take my advice and go out and buy the Lauder book for a third of the price (it is worth it for the essays alone, which are absolutely fascinating), and wait for a definitive book on Klimt to be published.(Taschen please?). In case you wonder if I am one of those grumpy guys who criticize everything, I give quite a few five-star ratings (and I've bought about 100 art books in the past 18 months). This is nowhere near. Look before you buy! Please!
The type face is quite striking and it excels at mirroring the glamor and scale of Klimt. As a simple coffee table book on Klimt, this certainly makes a bold statement. A serious art book this is not.
I agree with Art Lover that many of the paintings were printed too small for such an over-sized book. However, some pictures were printed very large as details, and I found these quite good. Never (in all the books I have purchased) have I seen his work with such detail. The image quality was good, and i found only a few blurry images. The full catalog in the back of the book has very small images, and I was quite saddened that many of my favorite paintings were excluded from the full page treatment.
Many "rare" paintings were included that I had no knowledge of. Also, this book represents the most recent findings on Klimt's work. I especially enjoyed the breakthroughs on the Stoclet Frieze's Knight.
The writing is good, and does a great job of pointing out historical facts, but it spends little time on the paintings themselves. I also found that the painting being talked about in the text was often several pages away from the text describing it. Many times, the images being described in the text (paintings that are usually by other artists) were not to be found within the book.
Its a good history book and offers great insight into klimt. For the price it really is a toss up depending on your budget. I wish it had more full size images, but I enjoyed the large size and EXCELLENT quality of the printing, binding, and overall craftsmanship.
Most recent customer reviews
Highly recommended to lovers of Art Nouveau and Klimt