Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gustav Klimt: 1862-1918” as Want to Read:
Gustav Klimt: 1862-1918
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gustav Klimt: 1862-1918

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  18,635 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Cult of pleasure: Feminine sensuality by the Vienna Secession's greatest proponent

Gustav Klimt's ornate, sensual, and decadent style made him not only the most prominent of the Vienna Secessionists but one of the best loved artists of all time. In his own time, Kilmt (1862-1918) was a highly successful painter, draftsman, muralist, and graphic artist; in the intervening
Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Taschen (first published 1992)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gustav Klimt, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gustav Klimt

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,635 ratings  ·  58 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Gustav Klimt: 1862-1918
Luís C.
Nineteenth century Austrian painter Gustav Klimt is known for the highly decorative style of his works, his most famous being The Kiss.


Born in 1862, Austrian painter Gustav Klimt became known for the highly decorative style and erotic nature of his works, which were seen as a rebellion against the traditional academic art of his time. His most famous paintings are The Kiss and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.

Poverty and Promise

Gustav Klimt was born on the outskirts of Vienna, Austria, on
Read a book on Klimt. Fall even more in love with his work. This is how it went for me. The book is richly decorated with many of Klimt's paintings, but also some of his (composition) sketches and it was just a wonder to behold. I was not very familiar with Klimt, so learning he did landscapes was a big surprise for me.

The book was nicely, chronologically set up. Mostly. References to paintings were sadly all over the place, considering not every painting was printed there when it was talked
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is filled with pictures of Klimt’s paintings and that itself makes this a visually stunning read. I just wish there was more background on Klimt, maybe more on his personal life and relationships.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: art lovers
my favorite painter of all time. "The Kiss" is such a classic- but there is more to this man than that one painting.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-books
I love Klimt so very much so I was tempted to rate this higher (I am so biased) but I did things properly. I loved the copious amount of prints in this book and the few photographs of the artist and the ones he painted, adored seeing his sketches of some of his most famous pieces.
However the writing that accompanied the pictures wasn't that good. There was a lot of repetition and I think this book could have gained a lot by presenting Klimt's work in chronological order.
So really it has been
When I stood in front of some of Klimt's paintings in Paris (the exhibition included his Beethoven frieze, which I only now realize how privileged I was to see), I remember thinking "I have no idea what these women are thinking." They were a mystery to me. This book has given some greater depth to the man and his works, but it has not taken away the mystery. Excellent pictures and insight.
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Pretty good quality reproductions of work by wonderfully inventive, colour-driven artist way ahead of his time.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so unique!.
Nov 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The painting "The Kiss" (Der Kuss) shown as the book's cover is my ultimate favorite and Klimt's most popular work. Let me write about the painting first: I think it's a romantic painting and I would never forget the first time I saw it in Jogja, the hotel I was staying held an art exhibition and they were displaying this painting (it was a repro though) and I thought it was so beautiful and romantic and I fell for it. When I got back from my holiday I kept on searching for this painting, I'd ...more
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read enough publications from Taschen’s art portfolio that I’ve become incredibly sceptical about the authorial quality, but I was happy to not find myself immediately annoyed with this book. It’s much smaller in volume than most of the other art books I’ve read, so the temptation to skip reading in lieu of absorbing strictly the artwork was much lessened and I was determined to read the book cover to cover. I did achieve this goal, but unfortunately found myself frustrated again due to the ...more
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, art
Two stars only because I really, really love Klimt, and yes, I learned a few things.

the only real point Néret makes in this book is that all of Klimt's art is in some way sexual (even the landscapes) and if he maybe actually put a reason in there, that wouldn't be a problem. But he literally just calls all women femme fatales who try to seduce the viewer, and that's it. Point made.
It just gets tiring after you know, thirty pages. Especially as a (wl)woman, who never thought of a strong,
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-real-life
I have long been a casual fan of Gustav Klimt - and by that, I mean I've long enjoyed two of his most well-known pieces of art (The Kiss, and The Hug). I don't remember when I acquired this book, but truthfully, it sat on my bookshelf for a very long time before I finally read it.

The author seems to be very knowledgeable; and he speaks of specific art movements and styles as if the reader will be familiar with them. Unfortunately, my art knowledge is limited, so I didn't find his perspective
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
This book provides an excellent guide to the art of Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918) with photos of his works including studies and unfinished works as well as works that have not survived. This is not a biography but does include biographical details which set Klimt's art in personal, artistic, and historical contexts and some insight into the Viennese art circle. The book focuses on Klimt's art with emphasis on his engagement of society and culture, his transitions from one period to another, his ...more
I was first introduced to Gustav Klimt in my teens when I saw the movie Dying Young with Julia Roberts. I liked his work, especially the use of gold in his paintings. When I moved out on my own in college, my mom bought me a large print of The Kiss for my apartment. I still have that print and I'm in my 30s now. I enjoyed the background information on Klimt in this book. I felt like it could have been organized a bit more; I was constantly flipping back and forth to the different paintings ...more
Artyom Korotkov
The author talks only about Klimt's paintings and his artistic inclinations. At times, I feel, he gets subjective, speculative and repetitive.

The worst of all - as much as I am interested in Klimt's artistic genius - the book contains no information (or almost next to nothing) about his personal life, e.g. his childhood, growing up, relations with family members, student years, love life etc. Such information is indispensable for a reader to get more acquainted with Klimt as a fellow human and
Books By Hala
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am actually giving a 4/5 for Taschen (German art book producer) for their work. They produce artist books that include personal background, history, paintings and their description in an organised and simple manner. What I also like about Taschen art books is that they make affordable coffee table books (they retail for Euro 10, although I’m not sure if this is their price in Amman). I bought this one during my Klimt craze while in Vienna. My next on will be for my all-time favourite ...more
Julia Y
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This writer has some serious issues with women. His repetitive use of the terms "femme fatale," "castrating woman," and "narcissistic lesbians" contribute nothing useful to the understanding of Klimt's art. It's a lazy and self-gratifying oversimplification of some beautiful and complex art that said more about the writer than the subject matter.

Just get the book for the pictures, it's not worth reading. 1 star for the writing, 5 for the art.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did waver here towards 3 stars because the presentation and the pictures are lovely, but I wanted to know more about the artist and sadly I found the writing confusing and impenetrable as thought written by someone who wants to impress but thinks the way to do this is to use big words and phrases without thinking about how this impacts the reading - so sadly I stay at 2 stars.
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I first took notice of Klimt's paintings after the sale of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. It was a ridiculous sum and at the time I subbed it. It's good, therefore, to read about it later on without a focus on the financial value. A good introduction to Klimt but could do with more explanation of technique.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Doris Raines
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful photographs of art, society, and Klimt himself with good cliff-notes style description of his life, ethos, and inspirations.
Mar 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Tachen’s Basic Art series has long been a benediction on anyone looking to learn about an artist without shelling out mad cash or squinting at tiny prints. This volume on Klimt was done well enough. Though its writing borders on bullshit—cloying in its projections, klutzing as it pronounces on Klimt’s allegories a brutal singularity—the book succeeds in positioning Klimt in the artistic imbroglio of the Venetian Renaissance. The fact that he was well acquainted with Freud should have been able ...more
Yuuki Nakashima
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, art, art-book
I love Klimt's works, but I didn't know about him at all. So it was really fun to know about his life and works and I like his works more than I used to now.

This book shows a lot of his works and they are parented here and there. When it mentions a painting, it says "(see page22)" or something like that. So you need to go back and forth when you read it. It was a bit annoying. And sadly, some of the drawings are in back-and-white. I wanted to see them in color because I like his use of colors.

Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After seeing an exhibit of Klimt drawings in LA at the Getty - and then seeing his paintings at the Neue Gallerie in NYC, I had to learn more about this artist. I'm no art history major, but this book gave me a great overview of Klimt and the artistic environment of Vienna at the time. The book provided me a great overview in its synopsis of Klimt the man, his work and the Vienna art scene at the time.
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and the illustrations in it. I found it informative and very well written. It delved into his work, life , love and inspirations. After reading it I felt that I knew Gustav a lot better. This is a book to read if you want to know about Symbolism and The Sessionist movement. It wo'nt cover everything but shows how the founder came to be.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
This is a nice book with many, many color reproductions of Klimt's work. It tells you a bit about how Klimt's life and the society he lived in influenced his work. The color reproductions are my favorite part. I think I found this book in a free box.
rachel williams
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
My love affair with the work of Klimt began fairly early, so when I saw this book I was excited. It had large prints of his work, in b&w and color, as well as a full biography. Its very good for what is basically a coffee table book.
Susan Trezins
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-history, 2013
Taschen series - always great for artist and movement introductions and basics.
Tosca Wijns-Van Eeden
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: study, art
Read it for fun! Learned a lot.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dali
  • Frida Kahlo: 1907-1954 Pain and Passion
  • Edvard Munch: 1863-1944 (Basic Art)
  • Egon Schiele, 1890-1918: The Midnight Soul of the Artist
  • Vincent Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings
  • The Magic Mirror of M.C. Escher
  • Leonardo da Vinci: The Complete Paintings and Drawings
  • Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo
  • Hopper
  • M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work
  • Frida Kahlo: The Paintings
  • Dear Theo
  • The 20th Century Art Book
  • Goya
  • Andy Warhol, 1928-1987: Commerce Into Art
  • The Letters of Vincent van Gogh
  • Leonardo's Notebooks
  • Van Gogh
See similar books…
Gilles Néret (1933 - August 3, 2005) was a French art critic and historian, journalist and curator. He wrote extensively on the history of erotica.

He organized several art retrospectives in Japan and founded the SEIBU museum and the Wildenstein Gallery in Tokyo. He directed art reviews such as L’Oeil and Connaissance des Arts and received the Elie Faure Prize in 1981 for his publications. Since
“This intensely lyrical vision of the pregant woman in [i]Hope I[i] is set in an ambiguous context peopled with masks, death's heads and allegorical monsters such as Sin, Disease, Poverty and Death, all threatening the incipient life.” 0 likes
“Eros and Thanatos were always the source of his inspiration, even though, from this time on, they usually appear in the guise of two simple and fundamental themes: flowers and women. These themes offered him the greatest opportunity to give a certain permanence to all that can be grasped in passing: an ephemeral sensual joy, the ecstasy of life.” 0 likes
More quotes…