Celebrating Gustav Klimt: The Kiss, for my sister Alice

Today, I received a gift in the mail from my dear sister Alice in Canada.  It is a beautiful gift with the image of Gustav Klimt‘s The Kiss.  She noticed from one of my posts on another blog that the most stunning painting I saw is The Kiss by Klimt at the  the Belvedere Palace and Museum.  I can’t thank her enough, and so I think it may be good to post this beautiful painting in order to say “Thank You” to my sister.

Some years ago, during a trip to Vienna, my friend and I had a wonderful time at the Belvedere Palace and Museum  One of the most unforgetable memories is seeing this beautiful painting.  Here’s the image from the Belevedere’s website.

Belvedere at a glance – Masterpieces of Gustav Klimt


The Belvedere Palace and Museum is now celebrating 150 years Gustav Klimt with a Jubilee Exhibition from July 13, 2012 to January 6, 2013.  If you have not been there, go now and see this painting yourself.  The Belvedere has the largest collection of Klimt’s paintings worldwide.  If you happen to be in Vienna or nearby, don’t lose this opportunity.  None of the images on paper or on-line, can be compared to the live painting.  I still remember the feeling standing in front of this wonderful art piece, only a feet or two away.  Unlike Mona Lisa which is small and so sheltered from the public, “The Kiss” is close to you, as if you are part of the painting.

If you are interested to know more about this painting, here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia – the Kiss (Klimt).

“The Kiss (In German: Der Kuss) was painted by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt between 1907 and 1908, the highpoint of his “Golden Period”, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of conventional oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palaceVienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Vienna Jugendstil—Viennese Art Nouveau—and is considered Klimt’s most popular work.”

I just dug out a big book that I bought a while ago about Klimt by Maria Constantino, 1990, PRC Publishing Ltd., reprinted in 2002. Here’s what she said about this painting: ” Perched on a flowery precipice, the two lovers are shown surrounded by an aura of gold,…The flat background gives a sense of an indeterminate location and removes the figures from any reference point in space or time.”

Constantino said that the ornamental symbolism of the garments has led to the interpretation as a symbol of the union between the man and the woman. The man has an angular form, whereas the woman is soft.  The woman’s head is at an extreme angle, giving the impression that she is passive, and the man dominates and initiates the action of the kiss.

The interpretation of this painting has never stopped, and the world is still talking about this.  Is this representing a union of the two sexes, or a depiction of tension between them?

Whatever the interpretation is, The Kiss remains the most popular painting of Klimt. No doubt Klimt has created a masterpiece combining the aesthetics of Vienna Secession and Symbolism, and demonstrated his contribution to the development of Art Nouveau, The fascination for The Kiss is comparable to that which surrounds the Mona Lisa. I am interested to know, what is your interpretation?

Before you start making your conclusion, I would like to share with you this video which I just found.  I think it is very helpful for me to understand more about the background of this painting.  Its reference to the Hagia Sophia‘s gold leaf mosaic paintings, is particularly interesting to me since I visited Hagia Sophia just a year ago. I did post pictures of  the Hagia Sophia in my other blog: Exploring Turkey and Greece.

Please see this video, and let me know your interpretation of The Kiss.

Klimt 2012. A kiss changes the world

Art Nouveau in Prague – In the new tiled galleries

This is a re-post of my first few posts on this Blog in a slide show presentation, and gallery with carousel view.  Prague was one of my favorite places to travel to.  Can’t  help falling in love with art nouveau in Prague! Some of my friends are going there soon.  To go, or not to go…with them? That is the question!

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Art Jeopardy — I was #1

I am writing this post for all my friends who have recently participated in the discussion or presentation of Art Nouveau and/ or Art Deco. I just came back from a cruise. There was a game called Art Jeopardy. I participated, and won! There were questions on artists, art history, art movements, museums etc. I did not get every answer right, but I did get this correct: there was a question on art movement. The answer was Art Deco, and I was right! Of course I also made big “bets” and therefore I happened to be the winner! Then I attended the art auction…and of course I bought something….had to break my bank! That’s the cost …being a winner!!

Well, I did have fun on the cruise. This was one of the highlights. Thanks to all of you who gave me this learning opportunities about Art Nouveau and Art Deco. As I mentioned somewhere in other blogs, I did not learn about art formally in school, but I am a lifetime learner. Art was my first love, and it would forever be one of my love affairs!

Thank you all! See you later!

These are two pictures showing an art introduction program on the cruise. I did not take picture of the Art Jeopardy because I was a participant.


Art Nouveau from a historical perspective

Love your post. I am reblogging it to mine so that I will not forget . Thanks so much for sharing!

Art Nouveau

Being confused all the time about whether a building actually is Art Nouveau or not, made me decide to get my facts straight and learn to recognise the characteristics of the style.

In order to understand the situation in which Art Nouveau emerged, we’re going back in time to find the Industrial Revolution taking place in the 1850s. People felt rich and wanted to have things that before only really rich people could afford. Thanks to mechanisation (cheap mass production) imitations of luxury products and ‘art’ were made affordable to everyone. Previous styles were copied and quality was no longer important. Anyone could now live in style!

As could be expected, the traditional craftsmen did not appreciate this new direction at all! They insisted on hand made, quality products. In the UK, these craftsmen formed the ‘Arts and Crafts Movement’, led by John Ruskin and later by William Morris. Their objective was to create beautiful yet sustainable products for the ordinary man. ‘Arts and Crafts’ is therefore not a style, but…

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San Francisco Palace Hotel – is this door Art Nouveau?


I just posted on my other blog ” My Notebook” about the historic tour at the San Francisco Palace Hotel.


I am recently very interested in looking at doors and windows ( see my post on Belvedere Palace window and Freer Gallery window) http://speakingabouttravel2.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/the-window-at-belvedere-palace-in-vienna-and-the-window-at-the-freer-gallery-of-art-in-washington-d-c/

I wonder if this door Art Nouveau? The hotel was rebuilt in 1909 after the 1906 earthquake. I think the design and the period ….looks like that it is Art Nouveau? I know many experts of Art Nouveau are following my blog ( what an honor!). I would like to ask you for your comments. Thanks.


This is the window at the French Parlor in the Palace Hotel. The window opens out to see the full view of the beautiful Garden Court Restaurant downstairs. It is a replica made here in Emeryville. I wonder if the original window with this design in the 1909 period…would it be Art Nouveau?…..I am just guessing. Would love to hear from my fellow bloggers! Thanks.

P.S. I am using the WordPress app on my iPad. It is very convenient for short posts particularly. I highly recommend this app to my fellow bloggers!

What is Art Deco? Is it the same as Art Nouveau?

Today, I took my brother and sister-in-law who came from Australia, to visit San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).  After the museum visit, when we were on our way from SF MOMA to the Westfield Shopping Center, we saw this beautiful design of a building across the street from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  I took some pictures of the different levels of the hotel, as my camera (iPad) has limited capacity to include the tall building in one picture.

The other picture was taken from SFMOMA , where we saw the top levels of the building, but other buildings had covered the other parts of this beautiful design.

I looked up the name of this building, and found that it is the San Francisco Skyscraper Hotel.  It is an Art Deco design. Then I realize that it is quite similar to a building’s design in Prague, which I had posted on this blog .    Since they are so similar, is Art Deco the same as Art Nouveau?

A building in Prague, Czech Republic at the intersection of Wenceslas Square and Na Prikope Street

What exactly is Art Deco?


According to Wikipedia:

“Art Deco ” or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s and into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and jewelry, as well as the visual arts such as painting, graphic arts and film. The term “art deco” was coined in 1966, after an exhibition in Paris, ‘Les Années 25’ sub-titled Art Deco, celebrating the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) that was the culmination of style moderne in Paris. At its best, art deco represented elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity. Art deco’s linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the flowing asymmetrical organic curves of its predecessor style art nouveau; it embraced influences from many different styles of the early twentieth century, including neoclassicalconstructivismcubism,modernism and futurism and drew inspiration from ancient Egyptian and Aztec forms. Although many design movements have political or philosophical beginnings or intentions, art deco was purely decorative.”

.Is Art Nouveau the same as Art Decor?  I looked it up.  This is the best answer :

They are two different art styles, with Art Deco evolving partially from Art Nouveau. Here is a good website comparing the two:
For Art Nouveau, think of the posters of Mucha, Women in flowing robes and floral ornaments. For Art Deco, think Bauhaus, it’s less ornate than Art Nouveau and more simplistic.”The Art Nouveau style appeared in the early 1880s and was gone by the eve of the First World War.””Art Deco was a popular design movement from 1920 until 1939, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film. This movement was, in a sense, an amalgam of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and Futurism.”


Please also see my previous posts on Art Nouveau in Prague.  I like both Art Nouveau and Art Deco.  What about you?

What is Art Nouveau?

 Art Nouveau is an international philosophy, a style of art, architecture and applied art, especially decorative art, most popular during 1890 to 1910.  The style was strongly influenced by Czech artist Alphonse Muche.  Art Nouveau in French means “new art”.  It was most popular in Europe but also global.  It is also a distinct style of some famous artists lke Gustav Klimt

One of my most enjoyable trips in the last few years was my trip to Prague with my friend.  In Prague, we were able to see some beautiful examples of Art Nouveau in many buildings all over the city.  Spectacular!  Can’t help falling in love…with Prague!