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The Painted Kiss

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,576 Ratings  ·  213 Reviews
In this passionate and atmospheric debut novel, Elizabeth Hickey reimagines the tumultous relationahip between the Viennese painter Gustav Klimt and Emilie Floge, the woman who posed for Klimt's masterpiece The Kiss - and whose name he uttered with is dying breath.

Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant cafés, grand opera houses, and a thriving and adventurous artistic commun
Paperback, US / Canada, 288 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Washington Square Press (first published 2005)
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Althea Ann
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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. SWOON! Now THA
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Caddy Rowland
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
This is the story of Emilie Flogel, the inspiration for the famous painting called "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt. There has always been a lot of speculation of their relationship (view spoiler) The story is told from the point of view of Flogel with some interludes about some of Klimt's more famous painting. As a typical artist, Klimt was also known for h ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, lit-fiction
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.
rachel selene
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
this has been on my list for a long time -- i have a bit of a thing for art history fiction, and i really admire klimt's work. overall it's a fun and interesting read, but i felt that the characterization here was lacking, especially that of emilie. i liked the first part of the book, with plucky, adventurous, twelve-year-old emilie as our narrator, but the spark fizzled out as she reached adulthood. adult emilie spends a lot of time (too much time) pining after klimt, so much so that nearly eve ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Painted Kiss is Elizabeth Hickey's debut novel and she imagines what led to the moment between Gustav Klimt and the name he uttered with his last breath. Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant cafes , grand Opera houses. and a thriving community of artists. It was there that twelve-year-old Emilie Floge met painter Klimt. The novel follows the pair after her father hires Klimt to give his daughter some drawing lessons and she becomes his mistress. Vienna glitters with beautiful women for Emili ...more
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, natalie
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
Dec 11, 2011 rated it liked it
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
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Kylee Baumle
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Klimt is a favorite artist of mine, and we have "The Kiss" at the top of our stairs at a little landing. I found this to be very well-written and as I neared the end, I didn't want it to end, or hoped I wouldn't hate the ending. I didn't. I know it's historical fiction, but Elizabeth Hickey tells the tale in such a way that you can imagine that it happened just like that.
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: readers interested in artists
3 1/2 stars. Really liked the novel and all the info on Klimpt but cut back stars a little because it is a novel and although from all that I've read closely follows the facts, there is always that problem I have with wondering what is historically correct. I had the same problem with the movie about his painting "The Woman in Gold". Loved the movie but wondered about the facts.
So....since I'll probably never see many, if any of his paintings in person, I've ordered a huge expensive book that sh
Mary Jensen
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not knowing much about Gustav Klimt other than that he was a fin de siecle artist, it was very interesting to read about his art and developing relationship with Emilie Floge. I enjoyed the references to Vienna and the surrounding countryside.
I found you had to pay attention to the dates at the beginning of each chapter, as the author is writing the story from a retrospective point of view. The timeline jumps back and fourth between the post WWII time and the late 1800's.

It was also interesting
Anmarie Maier
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Painted Kiss is named after the famous Klimt painting depicting two lovers in an embrace. It follows the life of one of Klimt's protégés, from her school days until her old age. Her relationship with Klimt is complex and, a times, difficult to understand. Written by a local Portland, Oregon author, this book provides lots of local Vienna color and accurate historical details.
Interesting story, but something is missing, such as more details on the life of Emilie and their romance.
It seems her youth took many pages and the years she was more active professionally and closer to Klimt (being an adult now) went by really fast on the retelling.
Laura Simkins
I enjoyed learning more about Gustav Klimt and this book has an entertaining and imaginative narrative. This is one of those books which make it enjoyable to look up the artist's work and the characters portrayed on the internet.
Francesca Brunner-Kennedy
Interesting perspective on Klimt and Vienna during that era. Wish I'd read it before I went to Vienna.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book and the authors style of writing!
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just love historical fiction and I find this author to be one of the best at her craft!
Karen Pavon
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love it! I enjoy the history behind and the end was wonderful.
Joana Silva
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Terrible.... Simple as that
Bill Wehrmacher
Very interesting book. I picked it off the library shelf while I was volunteering pulling books that people had on hold. The cover is very gripping, as is so much of Gustav Klimt's work. The Painted Kiss is historical fiction written in the form of a memoir of Emilie Flöge from the time of their first meeting when she is twelve until the end of World War II.

I found the first half of the book much more compelling than the second half, as it seemed to move a story line along a bit faster. Emilie
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is historical fiction that is a little heavier on the fiction than most of that genre, so if you're a person who is uncomfortable with that blend just be aware of this. The author explains in her note at the end of the book that she used the historic context and known relationship between Klimt and his "life partner," fashion designer Emilie Floge, but made up (and more controversially substantially changed) quite a few of the details. You could say that instead of trying to create a photog ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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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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