Obelisk Art History
Gustav Klimt

On Fear and Self Portraits

Gustav Klimt, 1900

What I am and what I want:

I can paint and draw. I believe this myself and a few other people say that they believe this too. But I'm not certain of whether it’s true. Only two things are certain:

  1. There is no self-portrait of me. I am not interested in my own person as a ‘subject of a picture’ - more in other people, especially women, but even more so in other appearances. I am convinced that as a person I'm not particularly interesting. There is nothing that special to see when looking at me. I'm a painter who paints day in day out, from morning till evening - figure pictures and landscapes, more rarely portraits.
  2. The spoken as well as the written word doesn't come easily to me, especially not when I'm supposed to relate something about myself or my work. Even when I have to write a simple letter I'm scared stiff as if faced with looming seasickness. For this reason one will have to do without an artistic or literary self-portrait of me. This is not really to be regretted. Whoever wants to know something about me - as an artist which alone is significant - they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognise what I am and what I want.
Further reading atmr-oscar-wilde.de

On Fear and Self Portraits is an Autobiography written by Gustav Klimt in 1900. It's in the Public Domain, and tagged Art Theory. Source

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