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The Painted Kiss

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,498 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Gustav Klimt, one of the great painters of fin de siècle Austria—and the subject of Helen Mirren’s latest film, Woman in Gold—takes center stage in this passionate and atmospheric debut novel, which reimagines the tumultuous relationship between the Viennese painter and Emilie Flöge, the woman who posed for his masterpiece Th ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Washington Square Press (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Althea Ann
An entry into the genre of books-about-famous-men-from-the-point-of-view-of-women-in-their-lives.
I love Klimt, and the whole arts-and-crafts movement that he was involved with. Oh, can I just say Art Nouveau? "Arts-and-Crafts" sounds like they were sitting around knitting and making macaroni mosaics or something. By coincidence, it was right after reading this that I went to see an exhibit of jewelry from the period at the Forbes Galleries. http://www.forbesgalleries.com/jewelr... SWOON! Now THA
...more
Chrissie
No spoilers:

I absolutely adored this book. My modem/computer was down this afternoon and so rather than looking at GR, it was just me and the book, and Oscar of course. I love the book b/c although much is conjecture about the relationship between Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge, I totally believe the author's interpretation. There is a clear author's note. Emilie Flöge was the model for Klimt's painting The Kiss, and it was her name that he spoke when he died. Their relationship feels authentic.
...more
Caddy Rowland
I really loved this story. Besides being a writer, I am an artist and dearly love books about artists. Although the author herself admits in her notes that much of the interactions and events or feelings were made up I am fine with that. I like "what if" and imagining relationships and how people really felt about each other, especially when history gives so little about some of the people in a famous person's life.

Emilie was a real person but we don't know much factual information on her. The a
...more
Glimmerfee
Schöner Roman um das Leben von Gustav Klimt und seiner Muse Emilie Flöge. Ganz nebenbei lernt man die wichtigen Maler und Frauen der Wiener Kunstszene dieser Zeit kennen.
Marija
Recently watched a program on Ovation highlighting the controversy surrounding the rightful possession of Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer and some of his other works. Wanting to keep the art theme current, I decided to read this book, which chronicles the life of Emilie Flöge, the sister-in-law and long time companion of Gustav Klimt. Historically, no one really knows how deep their relationship went, but during his final illness, he wanted her by his side. It’s also speculated that ...more
Bill
For some reason I'm reading quite a few novels about painters lately. This one is about Klimt and it's ok...nothing spectacular though.
Mary Ronan Drew
On the cover of Elizabeth Hickey's The Painted Kiss is Gustav Klimt's portrait of Emilie Floge, the woman whose name was on his lips when he died. This novel is narrated by Emilie as she remembers in 1944 and 1945 the Vienna of the late 19th and early 20th century. She introduces the reader to not just Klimt and Josef Hoffman but to Adele Bloch-Bauer, Alma Mahler (Gropius Werfel)and other leaders of bohemia in the Vienna of Secession days.

Lots of interesting gossip and opinion about people and e
...more
Alisha
Jul 31, 2010 Alisha rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
this book surprised me.

i knew it was about Gustav Klimt's mistress... I bought it on a whim about five years ago, but haven't felt like reading something that could be potentially trashy (? should I EVER feel like that?).

WELL, it wasn't at ALL. there was one brief scene that was over before I even knew it, and it doesn't color my impression of the book at all. especially since it WASN'T a revisited theme. There were points that I wondered, "are they STILL not together?" I guess they were the w
...more
Jeimy
As a longtime fan of Gustav Klimt it was a pleasure to see him come to life in this fictional account of his life. Not only him, but his artist friends and Vienna society at the time.

Told through the eyes of Emilie Floge, his lover and longtime companion, we meet Klimt when he is a struggling artist and follow his rise to fame. We also encounter his muses, lovers, friends, and at least one of his children. Elizabeth Hickey has studied the period and its players and has done a good job recreatin
...more
Nancy
During the past decade Gustave Klimt's paintings made headlines as families and European museums attempted to reclaim the art lost during the Nazi regime. Several of the paintings featured in prominent lawsuits were discussed in this book---not from the perspective of who has the legitimate claim to them now, but as a glimpse into the life of the artist and his models as the works were created. It was both fun and enlightening to have that perspective, even in a fictional setting.

The story of Kl
...more
Maryll
Beginning very rich in period detail. Also loved the characterization of Emilie Floge as a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. But then she grows up and becomes a dishrag for Klimt and you lose all respect for her as a character. The real Emilie obviously possessed some measure of inner strength as a woman. She made her own way in the world at a time when this was virtually unheard-of for a bourgeois woman, never marrying, opening her own fashion salon, etc, but you never feel like the author c ...more
Ellen Gemmill
I was familiar with Klimt's painting, of course, and started to think of it as trite since it's on posters and reproductions everywhere. But reading this book gave me such a new appreciation for it, and what it represents, that it is now the wallpaper on my desktop! I truly enjoyed the story (even if it was not totally accurate, history-wise) and it compelled me to do some research on Klimt and Floge. Serve yourself a cup of Viennese coffee, make a plate of pastries, and transport yourself to a ...more
Jgrace
The Painted Kiss - Hickey
published 2005
4 stars

When Emilie Floege was 12 years old her father commissioned Gustav Klimt to paint portraits of his three daughters. He became Emilie’s art teacher. As teenagers, Emilie and her sister Helene modeled for Gustav and his brother Ernst. Helene grows up to marry Ernst and produces one child before his early death. Emilie establishes a famous Viennese fashion house and becomes one of Gustav Klimt’s many lovers. This story is told from the perspective of
...more
Kathryn
This is a historical fiction about the works of Gustav Klimt, a Viennese painter, told through the eyes of his protegee and consort, Emilie Floge. It is set at the cusp of the Second War, and ends with Emilie telling the audience about how the paintings were taken by Hitler, but mostly as a witch hunt to root out the Jewish subjects of the paintings.

Emilie is a young girl when our story begins. Her father is a owner of a pipe (tobacco) manufacturing factory. Through his business ventures, he me
...more
MaryKate
I read this on the plane on the way to an unplanned trip to Vienna. It engaged me during the flight and helped us decide what we would see in the 48 hours we would have. We went the art deco route. I learned a lot about Vienna of that era and Klimt, whose work I knew by view but not by name. It inspired me to research and learn more about him to suss out what was true and what was fiction. Since many of his works were tied up in the Adele Bloch-Bauer family history and the return of paintings st ...more
Alisha
I like these historical fiction art books, but this one was not as good as some. The overall tone was one of hopelessness, which made the book pretty depressing. I don't have to have a happy ending, but I've read better art historical fiction than this.
Marie
The touching and for the most part, unknown story of Emilie Floge and her unrequited love for Gustav Klimt. The novel covers the painting of many well known masterpieces, including The Kiss, and Portrait of Adele Bloch Baeur, of renown for its long drawn out legal battle for ownership and subsequent record setting purchase price by Ronald Lauder of the Estée Lauder empire. I saw this painting in New York and it sets the tone for this novel of opulence, sophistication and love affairs among the w ...more
Kay
I thought the novel started slow, but once I got into the story it was really absorbing. I wished like "Tulip Fever" it had included illustrations of the Klimt paintings talked about, but I looked them up on the internet. This is the kind of historical novel I like - fleshing out the bare facts but not taking too many liberties and with an explanation at the end of what has been altered/omitted. The three famous women in Klimt's life, Emilie (the narrator), Adele Block-Bauer and Alma Schindler w ...more
Margaret
Im a really big Klimt fan! So, it was great to learn more about the artist through the eyes of his favourite mistress, Emilie Flöge. The problem is that she didnt seem, at all, to be his mistress and love of his life, like the chronicles say, but instead a good friend with a terrible girlie crush on the artist.

The book describes how the pair met when Emilie was 12 and he an aspiring young artist, who became her drawing teacher. Klimt becomes a good family friend, even more, when his brother marr
...more
Shirley

“A painting is like a game of chess; you have to plan your moves.”


These are the words of Elizabeth Hickey in her book ‘The Painted Kiss’. Hickey tells the story of the artist Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge, who met the artist at twelve years old, when he was employed to teach her to draw, eventually becoming his mistress and muse. Although she stays with him through many joys and difficulties her place in his life is never truly acknowledged.

The story starts in 1886, in the thriving artistic cen
...more
Suzanne
I distinctly remember the moment when I realized I was a fan of Gustav Klimt's paintings. I was walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and gazing upon a pleasing work with geometric designs and gold leaf. I said to myself "this must be a Klimt!" Indeed it was, and from that moment on, I've been fascinated with his unique and beautiful works of art.

When I heard that The Painted Kiss was a work of historical fiction about the life of Gustav Klimt I was excited to read it. Told from
...more
Loraine
Warning to potential readers: if you are one of those readers who likes to read the last few pages of a novel before actual starting to read the story, DO NOT do so in this case! You will greatly diminish the haunting conclusion.

Although published seven years before The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, The Painted Kiss makes an excellent fictional companion piece to O'Connor's history. Klimt is Hickey's protagonist and the psychi
...more
Emily Crowell
Ew gross. I might have to make a new bookshelf just for 'The Painted Kiss' for NEVER to read EVER again because of how explicit it was. And WHY did I have to read this for AP English language???
The story follows Emilie Floge's relationship with painter Gustav Klimt, and his disgusting treatment of all women. Klimt strung multiple women on to fulfill his sexual addiction, AND SHE DESCRIBED HIS MULTIPLE ENCOUNTERS XP MY INNOCENCE!!! Somehow Emilie was in love with Klimt and remained in love with h
...more
Daisy
There's nothing wrong with this at all. It's a nice, witty escape, not badly-written, and certainly a vivid period piece. Pleasant, historical gossip.

It's a strange day when the little girl whose christening dress you made starts bossing you around. p. 105

It took a week and two pieces of caramel cake for me to forgive Gustav. p. 127

I love you, I didn't say. Instead I suggested we have lunch. I had brought smoked mackerel and rye bread. p. 171

At parties like this Berta didn't mingle; she sat in a
...more
Marilyn
What a strong woman Emilie Floge was-- and what a mysterious, lifelong relationship she had with the great artist Gustav Klimt! I like how author Elizabeth Hickey re-imagines that relationship, which began when she was quite young and lasted through 'til Klimt's demise. I love how Emilie became a hugely successful fashion designer and salon owner in Vienna in a time when not so many women could even think of establishing and running their own business. Of course, as I often do with historical no ...more
Elisabeth
I very much enjoyed "The Painted Kiss," especially for the setting--Ms. Hickey paints a wonderful portrait of late 19th- & early 20th century Vienna (pun only somewhat intended), finding it a fun and enjoyable read. My only complaints with the book were a few issues with the narrative. I wasn't really crazy with the method of narrative--jumping back and forth between present day (in the case of this story, WWII) and flashbacks. I personally don't care for this narrative method that generally ...more
Heather
Clearly a debut novel, this book suffers from several things, least among those is character development. The story alternates between two distinct time periods: 1944 and the late 1800s. Predictably, 1944 is all about escaping, rationing, making do, and black-out curtains. It's a storyline that's been done before and better and really only serves as a distraction in this novel. The earlier period begins in 1886 when Emilie Floge meets Gustav Klimt. Somehow, the 12-year-old Emilie falls under the ...more
Ricardo Perez
Sin pretender ser tan clasificatorio, creo que hay libros para niñas y libros para niños. El beso pertenece definitivamente a la primera categoría: La historia de Emilie Flöge creciendo desde los 12 años en Viena, marcada desde el primer momento por su encuentro con Gustav Klimt, que se convierte en su maestro de dibujo. Chicas: aqui encontrarán romance, época, diseño y modas de finales del S. XIX y principios del XX, todo ello aleteando al lado del ambiente que rodeaba la vida de los artistas y ...more
LilaBird
This book was so wonderful. I love art history and historical fiction and this is some of the best of it! This book is told from an insider's perspective and lets us see into the live and loves of Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt. To be more accurate, the story is actually about Klimt's sometimes-lover, Emilie Floge. We get to follow her throughout her life and see how it intertwines with Klimts, how she falls in love with him, has her heart broken by him again and again, and ultimately has her nam ...more
Micebyliz
i wanted more from this story. more substance and true feelings. Remember that many Schiele paintings still have not been and probably will never be returned to their rightful owners, so to describe him as a boy with sloppy clothing seems disrepectful.
I got lost several times hopping between the years. it was hard to keep track of each character through the whole book.
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Elizabeth Agnes (Malet-Warden) Hickey.
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“Gustav's art isn't political," I said. "You of all people should know that."
"All art is political. You of all people should know that.”
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