Gustav Klimt at 100: Painter. Photographer. Dress Maker.

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Mental Floss has partnered with FOTO, a visual storytelling platform from Getty Images, to bring you articles featuring stunning images from Getty's archive.

The famously erotic, semi-psychedelic, sometimes gold-leafed paintings of bohemian artist Gustav Klimt once scandalized Austrian society. Today, of course, they’ve become museum-shop staples and dorm-room must-haves. The Austrian painter, who died 100 years ago, was known for his sensual portraits of women wearing shimmering, swirling dresses, but less so for the creative—and possibly romantic—partnership that brought the dresses to life.

MORE THAN COLLABORATORS?

 Gustav Klimt and Emilie Floege in a dress with floral pattern in the garden of the Oleander villa in Kammer at the Attersee lake.
Imagno/Getty Images

The dresses now so closely associated with Klimt's work were a collaboration with Emilie Louise Flöge, a Vienna native Klimt met when she was just 18. Until Klimt's death in 1918, Emilie remained a close companion and perhaps a lover, and was a groundbreaking fashion designer with a radical streak in her own right. (Pictured: Emilie and Klimt in 1910.)

THE SISTERS FLÖGE

Emilie, Helene und Pauline Floege sitting in a rowboat with Gustav Klimt.
Imagno/Getty Images

Klimt met Emilie after his brother married her sister—and then promptly died. Klimt was left to care for the widow, which allowed him to spend plenty of time with the family Flöge and young Emilie. (Pictured: The three Flöge sisters, with Emilie at the far left, and Klimt in a rowboat in 1910.)

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Emilie Louise Floege (Floge) by Gustav Klimt
Leemage/Corbis, Getty Images

Emilie began her climb in the fashion world by working as a seamstress at her sister’s dressmaking school in Vienna. In 1899, the sisters won a dressmaking competition and went on to design a dress for a widely attended exhibition. (Pictured: Emilie, as painted by Klimt in 1902.)

DESIGNING WOMAN

Emilie Floege wearing a dress
Imagno/Getty Images

Emilie, presumably in a dress of her own design, in about 1910.

UP THE FASHION LADDER

Emilie Floege In A Reform Dress Designed By Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill.
ÖNB/Imagno/Getty Images

Emilie quickly established herself as a savvy businesswoman, opening Flöge Sisters, a haute couture fashion salon in Vienna. She traveled to Paris and London, studying the work of designers like Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, among others.

WORKING TOGETHER

Hope, II by Gustav Klimt
VCG Wilson, Corbis, Getty Images

Many of the dresses that appear in Klimt's most celebrated works were created in concert with Emilie: He designed the patterns, she the fabric and cuts.

KLIMT BEHIND THE CAMERA

Emilie Floege In A Reform Dress.
Imagno/Getty Images

Klimt took many photographs of these collaborations. Emilie's designs were influenced by the early Feminist movement: They were flowing, comfortable clothes for women (no corsets!) that hung loosely from the shoulders. In this picture by Klimt from 1906, Emilie wears a dress she designed.

CLASSIC IMAGES

Emilie Floege in a reform dress.
Imagno/Getty Images

Even with referrals from Klimt, who was at this point painting portraits of Vienna's high-society women, sales of Emilie's revolutionary fashions were not brisk. Here, Emilie as photographed by Klimt in 1906 or 1907.

SKY-HIGH SALES

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II
Imagno/Getty Images

Klimt was quite successful, but no one could have predicted how sought-after his works would eventually become. "Adele Bloch-Bauer II," pictured above and one of Klimt's most famous paintings, was a portrait of the wife of a wealthy Klimt patron. The Nazis snatched it from the family home during WWII but in 2006, the work was purchased at auction for nearly $88 million. The buyer? Oprah Winfrey, who eventually sold it for a reported $150 million.

For more Klimt photos, visit FOTO.

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Take a Digital Tour of America’s Vintage Roadside Stops

The Coney Island Dairyland food stand, Aspen, Colorado, 1980.
The Coney Island Dairyland food stand, Aspen, Colorado, 1980.
John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Before GPS, road-tripping Americans canvassing the country’s freshly paved roadway system in the early part of the 20th century had to rely on gas station maps to find diners and other pit stops. Alternately, they could just keep their eyes peeled for one of the thousands of unique buildings that were designed so speeding motorists could easily identify what they had to offer.

Along the famous Route 66, writes author Richard Ratay in his road trip memoir Don’t Make Me Pull Over!, were “colossal fiberglass ‘people attractors:’ giant hotdogs, guns, pies, cow heads, ice cream cones, and other items associated with the goods each proprietor was hawking.” Other places tried to stand out to passing tourists by offering variations on the “world’s biggest” motif, like the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, Illinois.

These giant donuts, whales, tea pots, and other distinctive stops were shot for decades by photographer John Margolies, who made it his life’s work to capture these stucco slices of Americana before they disappeared. The Library of Congress first began acquiring portions of Margolies's archive in 2007 and started digitizing those images after Margolies died in 2016. The result of their efforts is an expansive—and totally free—online scrapbook of 11,710 color photos.

The Teapot Dome in Zillah, Washington is pictured
The Teapot Dome, Zillah, Washington, 1987.

The Hat 'N Boots gas station in Seattle, Washington is pictured
The Hat 'N Boots gas station, Seattle, Washington, 1980.

The Whale Car Wash in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is pictured
The Whale Car Wash, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1980.

The Donut Hole in La Puente, California is pictured
The Donut Hole, La Puente, California, 1991.

The Flamingo Drive-In Theater in Hobbs, New Mexico is pictured
The Flamingo Drive-In Theater, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1982.

Born in 1940, Margolies took frequent road trips with his parents. An architectural critic, he began photographing the roadside attractions in 1969, continuing the work through 2008. While many of these places have shuttered, their creative exteriors live on through Margolies’s lens. You can browse the rest of the collection at the Library of Congress website.

All images courtesy of the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

[h/t designboom]

Photographer Captures Polka-Dotted Zebra Foal in Kenya

Frank Liu
Frank Liu

Zebras are known for their eye-catching patterns, but this polka-dotted foal recently photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve really stands out from the herd. As National Geographic reports, the zebra baby likely has pseudomelanism, a rare pigment condition that's been observed in the wild just a handful of times.

Nature photographer Frank Liu saw the zebra foal while looking for rhinos in the savannah wilderness preserve. After initially confusing the specimen for a different type of animal, he realized upon closer inspection that it was actually a plains zebra born with spots instead of stripes. The newborn foal was named Tira after the Maasai guide Antony Tira who first pointed him out.

Zebra foal with spots walking with mother.
Frank Liu

Zebra foal with spots.
Frank Liu

A typical zebra pattern is the result of pigment cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for the black base coat, and melanin, which gives the animal its white stripes. (So if you've ever wondered if zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes, the answer is the latter). In Tira and other zebras with pseudomelanism, the melanocytes are fully expressed, but a genetic mutation causes the melanin to appear as dots rather than unbroken stripes.


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Though rare, this isn't the only time a zebra with pseudomelanism has been documented in nature. Pseudomelanistic zebras have also been spotted in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, but Liu believes this could be the first time one was found in the Masai Mara preserve.

Zebra stripes aren't just for decoration. The distinct pattern may act as camouflage, bug repellant, and a built-in temperature regulation system. Without these evolutionary benefits, Tira has a lower chance of making it to adulthood: Pseudomelanistic zebra adults are rarely observed for this reason. But as Liu's photographs show, the foal has the protection and acceptance of his herd on his side.

[h/t National Geographic]

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