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GUSTAV KLIMT. THE COMPLETE PAINTINGS | TASCHEN
Gustav Klimt and His Muse: Emilie Flöge
Although Gustav Klimt is considered one of the most famous painters in the world, little is known about his talented muse, Emilie Flöge. Klimt and Flöge had a very unconventional relationship and truly influenced each other’s works. Born in Vienna in 1874, Flöge emerged into the artistic world of Viennese society as a radical fashion designer and a businesswoman. Apart from being the painter’s life companion and business partner, she was an important figure of the fin de siècle and Viennese Bohemianism. Both Klimt and Floge shared the same clientele – the rich upper-class women of Viennese society. While Klimt painted their portraits, Flöge made dresses for them.
The story behind Klimt and Floge’s first meeting seems quite interesting. The two met around 1890 when Emilie was only 18 years old. One year later, Emilie’s older sister married Ernst Klimt, the brother of Gustav Klimt. Unfortunately, Ernst died a year after his wedding, leaving Gustav to support the family. From that time, Klimt began to spend each summer with the Flöge family at Lake Attersee, where he painted many of his landscapes, a lesser-known but an important aspect of his artistic practice. The painter and Emilie formed a strong bond that would never break. Although Klimt never married, his relationship with Emilie Flöge proved to be stronger than any marriage. The exact nature of their relationship is not clear. What’s certain is that it lasted for twenty-seven years.
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