What was unique avout Gustav Klimt's approach to subject matter? (Common motifs, stylistic features etc.) Please provide an example and discuss the painting technique.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gustav Klimt was particularly known for his use of gold leaf in his Art Nouveau paintings. Most of his portraits featured erotic, nude females drawn in a non-naturalist style. Klimt's most famous painting is Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), which sold for a then world record of $135 million in 2006. Although it is neither nude nor erotic, it does show Klimt's love of gold leaf in his work. Measuring 138 by 138 centimeters, it took Klimt three years to complete. Visually, it features a Jugendstil (German for "youth style" or Art Nouveau) style of highly "elaborate and complex ornamentation." Another example is The Kiss (1907), a portrait of a couple in an embrace. Although not a nude, is does feature his complex use of gold leaf in many patterns, including rectangles, circles and triangles. Its flat patterning

"... has clear ties to Art Nouveau and to the Arts and Crafts movement and also evokes the conflict between two- and three-dimensionality intrinsic to the work of Degas and other modernists."