Humanity has a notoriously nasty habit of glossing over the bad things that might upset them when concerning heroic historic figures. We seem to forget that they were human and had as many faults as they did graces. Every grade school kid learns how Benjamin Franklin is one of America’s early founders and left a legacy of wisdom and innovate invention that changed the country for the better but don’t know he was also a crusty old lecher riddled with sexual disease. In 1492 Columbus may have sailed the ocean blue but he also systematically wiped out the natives in search for gold. Let’s take a look at some other well known figures who were less than stellar human beings:
3. Gustav Klimt
If you want to recognize a Klimt painting all you need to do is check out your local college dorm rooms; square per inch he is the number one artist plastered on walls (only out-plastered by Van Gogh). What do people really know about him other than he makes pretty (if hyper sexualized) paintings?
In an age of stagnation he shook up the art world with the founding of the Vienna Succession and proceeded to have a long career painting naked chicks.
The Vienna Succession was formed in 1897 and included painters, sculptors, and architects. In an art world where everything was measured with an iron ruler Klimt and his gang of avant-garde beatniks broke tradition. When you think of Vienna Succession just think of it as the red-headed step child of Art Nouveau.
Klimt was described as, shall we say ‘earthy’ in that water and soap weren’t a real priority for him. He lounged around his studio naked except for a ratty muumuu and kept numerous cats, believing that feline urine worked as a fixative for his paints. To say Klimt was into women would be a hilarious understatement. There is such a thing as liking something too much and it could be said that Klimt liked women like an alcoholic likes a lifetime supply of complementary beer. His studio was called a ‘bordello’ and with good reason.
Remember this was the height of the Victorian Era and while by today’s standards he would be a star in the pornography industry he lived at a time when denial was in high fashion and a lady’s ankle in plain view was scandalous.
Klimt’s work of frank sexuality offended more than it awed, though the Victorians still managed to regard his work through open fingers for all their denunciation. More than one critic called it ‘pornographic’ and ‘obscene’ but there is no denying that what he did was art, if one considers art something that evokes an emotional reaction.
His relationship with women was like something out of the darkest recesses of a Playboy article. By all accounts there was almost always naked lady models lounging in his studio at any given time and he encouraged them to feel free to explore themselves while he observed for ‘artistic’ purposes (seriously, look up Klimt’s female masturbation sketches).
As his fame grew ladies of higher status sought him out for portraits and may have regretted the decision. He wasn’t shy about what he wanted as some described his overwhelming satyr-like temperament as ‘animal-like’ and probably felt like they had a great painted target over their lady gardens.
You can imagine anybody that made a lifelong and successful career out of sex in the Victorian Age probably had an inhuman amount of intercourse and relations with just about anything female.
While sexuality isn’t inherently bad, going overboard with it without proper precautions is. Given the amount of ‘relations’ he had with different prostitutes over many years he contracted syphilis and God knows what other diseases.
He had flings, he had mistresses he had prostitutes, one nighters, back alley relations, quickies, romps, slap and tickles, fornications, and suffice to say you name it he probably did it at some point or another. Multiple times.
Klimt just about wins the gold for the ultimate deadbeat dad; it is estimated that he fathered up to sixteen children and I say ‘estimated’ because those were just the ones who came forward after his death.
Assuming because they spoke up after his death you can imagine that Klimt had no real interest in supporting, or even acknowledging the life he brought into the world nor the women whom he fathered them on.
Therefore, it might be more accurate to say instead of ‘Klimt loved women’ we could put it as ‘Klimt loved the pants feelings that being around (and in) women produced’.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/3673232/Gustav-Klimt-a-life-devoted-to-women.html (‘A Life Devoted to Women’ Klimt was a perv. Total perv.) http://www.iklimt.com/life.html ‘So, under an appearance of respectability, Klimt cleverly parinted what interested him most: women’s maddening eroticism. Intriguingly, he painted women nude before covering them with clothes.’ ‘After Klimt’s death, at least 14 people came forth and claimed to be his natural children. At least three of these children had been recognized by Klimt himself during his lifetime.’ (Still a perv. Studio more like a bordello than artist residence. After his death more than 14 people stepped forward claiming to be his illegitimate child)