Emilie Floege Gustav Klimt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Gustav Klimt's painting of Emilie Floege shows her personality

She poses in a style that many people today are familiar with. Gazing directly at the artist, Emilie seems to challenge anyone looking on.

With her left hand positioned on her waist, her body language slightly emphasises fertility. Placing a hand near her hip also shows that she is ready for action.

Floege's pose may be evidence of her extensive experience in the fashion industry. She was a successful fashion designer and understood which pose to use to make herself appear as a confident, assertive woman.

Her choice also shows her clothing to its best advantage. Klimt contributed several drawings to her collection in the Rational Dress style.

In the Emilie Floege painting, the designer is portrayed wearing a dress which fits her comfortably. It has long sleeves and relaxed shoulders.

This was Floege's preference when it came to clothing and while she closely monitored the advancements made in fashion by her contemporaries, including Coco Chanel, she had her own style. Like Klimt, she was not afraid to defy convention in order to create something that was more interesting.

It was a time when designers and innovators flourished. The Emilie Floege painting was completed in 1901 and Freud published Interpretation Of Dreams just two years earlier in 1899.

While Klimt helped to spur the Secession and even served as its leader, she also helped to push the Vienna Secession forward. Clothing was a part of the movement and Kloege's dresses were designed so that they could be worn without a corset. This was a fascinating move for any designer at that time.

With her hand near her waist and hips, Floege may also subconsciously call attention to her sexual attractiveness. She was Gustav Klimt's lifelong companion.

Her confidence in her own beauty, her sense of accomplishment as a businesswoman and her support of her partner may all be what viewers see reflected in her facial expression and posture.

Klimt completed the painting in 1902. However, this was not the only time Emilie appeared in his work. In fact, some experts think that the famous painting "The Kiss", displays the artist and his partner as lovers.

Interestingly, it is said that Emilie's family did not like the Emilie Floege painting and considered it too radical for the time.

The couple thrived in an atmosphere that encouraged a fair amount of experimentation. Innovation was a part of their legacy and Vienna, like Paris, welcomed cosmopolitanism.

Floege displays a pose in the painting which seems modern to viewers because it is. Even as Klimt painted women in a style that was evocative of the ukiyo-e paintings of Japan, he was looking towards the direction in which art in the West was headed.