A Valentine Kiss From Cupid - or Klimt - or Dougie

Today I was greeted by a fairly large package on the kitchen table, wrapped in pages from yesterday's New York Times, and sporting a bright red envelope with my name on it. Hmmm ... it's Valentine's Day! I picked it up - rather, I tried to pick it up - but since I am walking with a cane these days (more about that some other time), it was way too heavy for me to carry. Dougie to the rescue. We headed to the family room where I would open this mystery package.

I confess, I was a little scared to open it. Dougie tends to be the extravagant one, while I am the worrier who thinks about things like paying the bills. I had a feeling this was going to be one of those gifts that caused me to worry!  I opened it and found I was looking at a large cardboard suitcase of sorts, imprinted with an intriguing piece of art by Gustav Klimt. Inside this case was a book - rather, a BOOK - like none I have ever seen. I spent about two seconds debating whether I was going to worry about the expense before I decided to give Cupid his due.

Wow! Gustav Klimt: The Complete Paintings, by Tobias Natter; produced by Taschen. This is a stunning, magnificent book! In fact, it is more like a museum; a 676-page, twenty pound museum!

Of course I haven't started any serious reading yet, but I can tell you of some highlights:

- fascinating images of early work,
- images which chronicle his experimentation with what became his iconic use of squares and swirls and triangles and gold,
- an extensive section on the Stocklet Frieze, which is an incredible mosaic built inside a Viennese villa, complete with amazing four-page wide fold outs and separate full size posters,
- a photo catalog of the complete list of Klimt's paintings
- 231 letters, cards, and other documents - all known Klimt correspondence - is included (good luck reading his handwriting),
- and, the women! The beautiful, rich, avant-garde women ... shown here in paintings as well as photographs. I am enamored of these women.

I must say, this is the most spectacular book I have ever held in my hands.  I'm planning on having a lot of fun with these images, not the least of which will be incorporating some of their elements into my little quilts.  When you think of all the many circles and squares that I've obsessively sewn over the years, you can probably understand why I am so excited by Klimt's work. Always have been, but my knowledge was so limited!  Now I'm going to become a Klimt Connoisseur, instead of just a Gustav Groupie.