KLIMT, GUSTAV. Das Werk von Gustav Klimt. Text by Hermann Bahr and Peter Altenberg. 41 (of 50) richly printed collotype plates including 4 (of 10) printed in color and heightened in gold and silver, with specially designed unique intaglio signets printed in gold in lower margins; 470 x 453 mm; 18 1/2 x17 3/4 inches, sheets. Large square folio, contents (title-page, plate lists, and separate sheets with Bahr and Altenberg text) loose as issued in original case designed and signed by Julius Dratva, Vienna, with gilt square on front cover bearing Klimt's name within decorative circle, spine gilt perished, soiled, spine tips and corners frayed, ties perished, lacking bottom panel of wooden tray; plates and margins intermittently foxed with occasional marginal tidemark but color plates still fairly clean. Printed by K. K. Hof-und-Staatsdruckerei. Vienna and Leipzig: Hugo Heller, 1918
Hand-numbered 129 of 300 copies of this scarce and magnificent publication. Klimt's only monograph published in his lifetime and shortly before his death. Prepared and produced under his artistic supervision between 1908 and 1918, Das Werk was a collaboration between the artist and his close friend, the Viennese publisher, Hugo Heller. Each image is rendered in collotype (heliogravure) and bears its distinctive signet in the lower margin. These gold signets were original designs which Klimt specifically developed between 1908 and 1914 in order to designate and symbolize each image in this portfolio (for further information on the signets and their relationship to the paintings, see Alice Strobl, Die Zeichnungen 1904-1912, Salzburg, 1982, pages 286-290.) The total edition was 70 deluxe copies with an original drawing and this edition of 230, though many were lost or misplaced as a result of Heller's bankruptcy, subsequent move, and Klimt's death soon after the publication. The Emperor Franz Joseph was the first to buy a copy of the portfolio and, notably, Frank Lloyd Wright owned one as well (See Alofsin, Anthony. Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector: Secessionist Prints from the Turn of the Century. 2012).