Klimt, Schiele, Redon — Who Are Your Favorite Artists?

Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which sold for a record $...
Adele Bloch-Bauer, now at the Neue Galerie in New York. Image via Wikipedia

Loving a new book I bought while in Chicago recently, about Gustav Klimt. One of his paintings just sold at auction for $40.4 million, far exceeding the estimate of $25 million. A portrait of his sold for $135 million in 2006 and now hangs (yay!) in a gallery a 30-minute drive from my home in Manhattan’s Neue Galerie.

When I met my husband he was living in Brooklyn, in a brownstone, with a huge Klimt poster of The Kiss, over his bed. Oooh, I thought. Good signs: romantic, likes art, likes Klimt!

Klimt was one of the Viennese Secessionists, along with Egon Schiele, another of my favorites — who also died at a horribly young age (28, three days after the death of his wife), from the same influenza epidemic of 1918.

Schiele was a protege of Klimt and his work considered scandalous.

Odilon Redon worked in several media, one of them pastel, and his still lifes of flowers are some of my favorites.

I recently saw a show of Lyonel Feininger at the Whitney. Amazing! His early drawings, from 1909 to 1912, were an absolute revelation and prompted me to rush back to the art supply store and stock up on drawing pens. They’re playful, detailed, like a mini Tim Burton or Edward Gorey…and 100 years old.

I grew up, luckily, in a home filled with original art: paintings, sculpture, etchings, engravings, everything from Eskimo prints and soapstone owls to Japanese masks and scrolls. My father (a retired film-maker) himself works as an artist, well, in a variety of media: silver, etching, lithography, oils, so a life surrounded by visual beauty — which we made and owned — seemed completely normal to me.

One of our favorite wedding gifts is from a friend who’s a talented artist, three drawings of knots (!) Whenever I travel, I pack my pencils and watercolors and sketchbook, and some of my favorite images are those I drew: a pint of Guinness in an Irish pub, a shop in Bangkok, a cob of corn I painted in a class in Mexico City.

When I was revising my new book, I took a three-hour class every Friday morning, working with  colored pencils and a tough teacher. It was fascinating to see what my fellow students produced. One, a subdued suburban matron, drew huge, gorgeous flowers bursting off the edges of the paper. I, the chatty, feisty girl, drew small, tight images. Go figure!

After each class, focused on capturing one object for all that time, I returned to my computer totally refreshed and happy, re-energized by one form of creativity to dip into the well of another.

If I don’t look carefully at something really beautiful every day (and it’s often in nature), I feel bereft.

Who are some of the artists whose work you love and why?

9 thoughts on “Klimt, Schiele, Redon — Who Are Your Favorite Artists?

  1. My Grandmother’s best friend was an artist and dancer. Whenever she traveled, she brought back figurines and little paintings and amber jewellery for Grandma. I used to try and copy what I saw in her house and I would then get it on the fridge with a butterfly magnet. The best times.

    While I can appreciate Klimt, I LOVE Degas and Edward Hopper. And Jack Vettriano, but that’s possibly because I love Hopper so.

    I also went through a Gorey phase.

    There is a special place in my heart for Mucha and Neil and I kinda bonded over Edvard Munch and Frida Kahlo.

    1. One of my best memories of Prague was an afternoon in the Mucha museum. And a friend sent me Mucha magnets that she made, still on my keepsake boxes!

  2. 2 of my favourites have always been Salvador Dali and MC Escher – I was a student of graphic art/design many years ago and they were the very first ones I was introduced to that changed my thinking, because of the possibilities they saw, and produced, so to speak.

    But the artists that have always affected my world are music. Universally, music seems to be the great inspiration to artists of all sorts. Of late, the 2 that have been rocking my world have been:

    Tommy Emmanuel – a guitarist that makes my teeth fall out, and jaw run away everytime I watch (a new video) him performing. He’s true genius. Maybe not human 😉 When I grow up. I want to be Tommy Emmanuel’s pinky nail. It would be a massive achievement!

    Philip Glass – I listen to Philip Glass on repeat when I’m doing post production or writing on the computer and his music stirs bits of my brain that I never realised existed. Suddenly, a lot of things become possible/doable, after a session with him. It’s pretty powerful medicine.

    1. I’ve been thinking of doing a post about my fave music and artists. I don’t know Emmanuel but will go seek him out. Glass’ music is indeed hypnotic and I can see exactly how it could jump-start some creativity…one of my favorite bands is Tangerine Dream. Check out their soundtrack to the film Sorcerer. Similar to Glass but, for me, more interesting.

  3. Tangerine Dream… I’m going looking!

    Tommy Emmanuel will take a bit of getting used to if you don’t normally listen to that sort of music. His is a technical master, and also, does all of his work with a couple of super beat up plugged into an amp. No fancy effects etc, just sheer variation with technique and tune (i’m sure there are better ways of describing this though). Watch/listen to this. Audio’s not great, but the man is just impressive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6UIXEDZGmg

    I think he could easily pick up another instrument and rock the world with it as well if he really wanted to. One comment below that video I absolute love is: “God must have wanted someone to play with from time to time, and thus he created Tommy.” Word!

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