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Gustav Klimt and Emilie Floge by anyanka323
February 28, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: art
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Emilie Floge 1902, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Vienna

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Emilie Floge 1902, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Vienna

Gustav Klimt, Rosebushes Under Trees, 1905, Musee dOrsay

Gustav Klimt, Rosebushes Under Trees, 1905, Musee d'Orsay

Emilie Floge was Gustav Klimt’s main female companion from the 1890s to his death in 1918.  Her sister Helene, with whom she co-founded a Viennese fashion house, married Klimt’s brother Ernst.

She posed for an earlier portrait in a vastly different style in the late 1890s, but her 1902 portrait is the first of his in the “golden style” – the woman as bejeweled icon.  She wears a dress she may have designed herself in the reform dress style – her fashion firm Scwhestern Floge  lasted until the Anschluss in 1938.   When she received the finished work, it was not well received by her own family and they sold  it to the city of Vienna in 1908.

The firm itself was furnished by the Wiener Workstatte, specifically the Josef Hoffmann furniture and cabinets,  some of which survive today in private collections.  A Hoffmann pendant that was given to Emilie by Klimt is now in Manhattan’s Neue Gallerie.

Klimt painted Rosebushes under Trees as a replacement for the portrait.  Klimt and Emilie vacationed together on Lake Attersee outside of Vienna.  The painting was possibly intended as a memento of one good vacation together.  She must have liked it – she kept it the remainder of her life.

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