In accompaniment with the exhibition held by the National Gallery of Canada comes Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making. This powerhouse of a book spans the life and work of the famous Austrian painter who is well-known, even now, for his dramatic work, "The Kiss." This beautiful tome includes four chapters, by four different art historians, on the background and importance of Klimt's work, plus two sections devoted to the works in the exhibition, including a page of detailed commentary on each of the paintings.
As a student, Klimt was trained in the decorative arts. He quickly became known for his blending of both high and low art styles, a rather controversial movement at the turn of the century. His graphic shapes and colors became one of his signatures and hold his paintings together like sublime art nouveau glue. Though popular enough at the time to have been commissioned to create murals and friezes for grand buildings, Klimt did not escape public criticism for the heavy sexual content of his work. Klimt's symbolic paintings about life and death are full of images of nude women, young, old or pregnant, and couples and groups intertwined. These colorful, sensual, and elegant paintings remain fascinating symbols of fin-de-siècle Europe. --J.P. Cohen [via]