Das Werk.Vienna: H. O. Meithke, 1914 Stock Code: 142540
The only editioned set produced during Klimt's lifetimeFirst edition, only printing, one of an edition of 300, numbered 53 in blue pen. This portfolio of prints was the only editioned set produced during Klimt's lifetime and was a collaborative project between himself and the Viennese Gallery, Miethke. Klimt himself chose what he regarded as his most important works to be printed and oversaw the production. The project started in 1908, and the prints were released in five groups of ten images, including two colour prints, every 18 months to subscribers over a period of six years.
A later issue of the title page was published in 1918 with an altered limitation page stating that the first 35 copies (IXXXV) included an original drawing by Klimt and the title page and coloured plates had his facsimile signature; the next 35 (XXXVILXX) had his facsimile signature on the title page only; and the remainder of the edition was numbered 1230. The present portfolio is a mixed issue, with the title page dated 1914 and numbered in Arabic numerals, but includes five colour prints with the facsimile signature stamp from the first 35 copies of the 1918 issue.
Fragile collotype plates cannot be reused. As such, this necessitates the completion of a run on the first go and also dictates a limited production number. Printed by hand, the collotypes required deft handling by the printer, K. K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei a complicated and lengthy process involving gelatin colloids mixed with dichromates, the creation of 16 colour separation thin glass filters to achieve the light-sensitive internegative images which could faithfully capture all of the painting's tonal gradations and colours, exposure to actinic light, and delicate chine colle papers which allow for greater colour saturation.
Folio. 14 loose pages including 5 with plate indexes and 50 loose plates. All housed in a brown mottled clamshell box with linen spine and marbled sides, with artist's name and decoration in gilt to front cover, produced by Julius Dratwa, Vienna.
50 full page plates after Klimt. 31 collotypes printed on chine colle paper laid down on handmade heavy cream wove paper with untrimmed deckled edges, of which 10 are in colour; 3 heightened in metallic gold and silver inks and 6 heightened in metallic go
A few minor scuff marks to the margins of the sheets but not affecting the images, otherwise a bright unfaded set. Clamshell box scuffed with wear to corners and edges, lacking the ties.
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