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Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I

    Creativity Corner Vive La Différence

    Vive La Différence – Gustav Klimt

    June 30, 2014

    Today we have another Vive la Différence instalment. Vive la Différence is officially two years old and has featured 24 bloggers and their Vignettes. Amazing!

    When I first started this series there was no game plan and I still enjoy it as it is. However, I wonder whether it can be moved on in any way. I’d love to hear your thoughts and views. Do you want for me to keep this format or would you maybe like to see 3 bloggers take 1 theme as their inspiration for a Vignette? Do leave a comment if you have an opinion on it!

    I’m delighted to feature Rebecca, who lives in London and spends most of her time photographing people – you can see her wedding photography here. Rebecca also recently launched a new site called Living Abstracts, where she shares surface design and projects using it.

    For new readers:

    The concept: each month I will invite one blogger. They will create and showcase one image/vignette. There are 20 themes and 20 objects for my guest to choose from. They choose 1 theme and up to 3 objects. I will then create an image/vignette based on their choice. Everyone has free reign on how to create the image. It can be simple photography, a drawing, a collage, a hand-painted image, a styled table top… the choice is yours! The fun part is that you, my readers, will see 2 versions inspired by the same subject matter. There is no right or wrong. There’s just ‘different’.

    Rebecca chose the theme: Gustav Klimt…. with the object: Art Materials.  Here is Rebecca’s Vignette.

    What fun to participate in this – a very different project to my usual photographic commissions.

    I started by looking at Klimt because I had bought some metallic paint and thought it would work in a similar way to the Klimt sheeny gold.  After a number of trials with watercolours, inks, pencil drawings and aquarelle pencils, none of the colours were gelling together or with the metallic paint. So I photographed four sheets of paper that were ‘works in progress’ and placed them on top of one another in Photoshop, along with some textured images, cutting out some layers, as well as changing the colour, saturation, blending modes and opacity on each layer until I ended up with an image where the colours worked together.

    Some of the 25 or so layers were also made smaller, larger and reshaped.  I love the gentle greys and greens of this image, the feathery pencil marks and the overall curves. It is not at all what I was expecting when I started – and in fact looks remarkably similar to my maternity portraits.  There’s still a part of me that wants to add a metallic, though, perhaps by putting this in a dull bronze frame. 

    Thank you Tina for having me.

    Vive la Différence - Rebecca Portsmouth | Gustav Klimt

    Klimt, mon amour! I’ll never forget the day I was in Vienna for business (in my mid 20’s) and saw Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss hang in the museum. My love for gold, patterns, texture and passion was forever sealed .

    Today’s painting is dedicated to ‘The Lady in Gold’, the story of how Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I was looted by the Nazis in 1938, during the second World War. Adele, who died in 1925, requested in her will that the works be donated to the Austrian state museum. Ferdinand, their legal owner, who lived another 20 years, instead bequeathed his estate, including the paintings, to the couple’s nieces and nephews. After the war, the Austrian government justified keeping the paintings based on the terms of Adele’s will.

    Maria Altmann, Ferdinand’s niece, who escaped Europe with her husband after he was held by the Nazis in the Dachau concentration camp in 1938, thought for many years that her aunt and uncle had left their collection to Austria. In 1998, she discovered the truth of her uncle’s will, and set out to reclaim her family’s art. An eight-year legal battle with the Austrian government began and in 2006, the painting, amongst other ones was returned to its rightful owner.

    In 2007 I saw the documentary called Stealing Klimt and this is when my obsession with Nazi-looted art began.

    There are many different cases still not uncovered and I find it incredible that governments have been able to get away with stealing famous paintings for so long. I hope the rightful owners will never rest! For anyone interested, this is a great talk by Los Angeles attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, telling how him and Maria Altmann won their case against the Austrian government. Worth a listen!

    I’ve also heard that a film (Woman in Gold) about the Nazi-looted Klimt restitution, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, is currently in production.

    Method: I used watercolours, gouache, oil pastels and gold dust. I painted many layers and scratched out the patterns to reveal the colours underneath. In Klimt’s paintings you often have one very bright section with the rest more muted, goldish look. I tried to emulate this by painting only one layer with the face, hair and necklace.

    PS. In case you’re wondering about Adele’s hair. I had pink highlights put in over the weekend and this is a nod to them.

    VLD - Gu Klimt | TB

    I’d like to thank Rebecca for taking part this month. I love the sensitivity of the mark makings and now I want blue and green highlights too. Happy new week people!