Gustav Klimt at The Pinacotheque, Paris

As I said earlier, I have always aspired to see a Klimt exhibition.  It’s  a dream that I thought will remain just that – a dream.

I’d almost done it in Vienna, Venice and few forgot-the-name cities but it would always fall through as the opportunity, simply, is not there.   So how half-ecstatic, half-resigned I was when we arrived in Paris earlier this month and there I saw the yellow banner on the Metro, announcing the Klimt exhibition at The Pinacotheque to start on 12th February.  Half-ecstatic because it is actually going to happen, half-resigned because I probably won’t be here to see it.  But pure luck was about to be on my side – H decided that we have to stay in Paris for a bit longer and that means, I will be here when it opens!

(Fast Forward)


So I’m here to talk about it and I’m still over the moon!  I bought my  ticket (16.50euros) online as I expected the queue to be kilometric, indeed it was and I was lucky not to have to stand up there for hours, but I felt a bit ripped off as the cost of the ticket indicated on the door is only 14euros!  Oh well, at least I did not freeze waiting in line like the others , I actually went straight in like a VIP.

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was one of the most famous painters of Austria who also co-founded the Secession Movement (Art Nouveau style) in Vienna.    The exhibition entitled “In the Time of Klimt, The Vienna Secession” demonstrates the  development of the  Viennese Secession in the 19th century by displaying selected works of the artist (and some others).  Some of these works are less known to the world and I’m glad I saw them in their original state.


Gustav Klimt, Female portrait, c. 1804, oil on canvas, (from the Belvedere collection, Vienna)


Ernst Klimt (Gustav’s brother), Portrait of a baby on a sofa wearing a lace cap, 1885, oil on canvas, private collection

Ernst Klimt – Francesca da Rimini and Paolo. 1890.  Oil on canvas.   Belvedere, Vienna


Gustav Klimt, Study of a female head on a red background, 1897-1898, oil on canvas, Klimt Foundation, Vienna.

 Klimt has focused all his attention on the female figure, depicting them partly as sexual objects and  partly as supreme beings

Gustav Klimt, Woman on the chimney, 1897-1898, oil on canvas, 41 x 66 cm. Belvedere, Vienna.


Gustav Klimt, Portrait of a young girl, c. 1898, oil on cardboard, 38 x 34 cm. Private collection, Belvedere, Vienna


Gustav Klimt, standing female nude with a raised arm (Niké), about 1898

Gustav Klimt, Judith, 1901, oil on canvas, 84 x 42 cm, Belvedere, Vienna

Gospel of Matthew 14:6-11
But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body, and buried it, and came and told Jesus.

Klimt painted the biblical character of Judith holding the severed head of Holofernes.  She is depicted here as a femme fatale. She looks down on the viewer, her mouth voluptuously open and with her right hand she strokes the hair of Holofernes.

This is the painting that left me totally spellbound!  Imagine getting  the chance to look up close at one of the most famous paintings in the planet.  It’s just a shame that photography is not allowed, but having said that, I stared at it like there’s no tomorrow, taking note at every single detail of the painting, the gilded frame, the engravings on it where etched the words “Judith” and “Holofernes”.

Gustav Klimt – Feu follet, 1903. Oil on canvas,  52 x 60 cm

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In 1902, Klimt created one of his most famous works, the Beethoven Frieze, for an exhibition of the Secession movement. The entire show was an homage to Ludwig van Beethoven.   Klimt’s monumental frieze greeted visitors in the entrance hall. Thirty-four meters wide and two meters high is this opulent, ornamental “symphony”; in which Klimt sought to immortalize Beethoven’s “Ninth” and its interpretation by Richard Wagner.   (

 Gustav Klimt, Reconstruction of the Beethoven Frieze, 1985 Mixed media on plaster stubble, 216 x 3438 cm. Belvedere, Vienna






This copy of the “Beethoven Frieze” was absolutely amazing!  Staring at the work reproduced on the walls of the Pinacotheque put me on the same state as if I was listening to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  Incredible.

My only disappointment is that, “The Kiss” is not there, unfair! Oh well, the next time I go to Vienna, I must go and see it.  At least,  I bought a big poster of it  that time and I am going to frame it – in wood painted in gold – and display it in my sitting room!

“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 recognize what I am and what I want.” – Gustav Klimt

A Cake for Valentine

“Let me buy you flowers!”, H announced. I love flowers but I prefer to take in their beauty for free,  like when they are cut from my garden, or when admired from someone else’s backyard or public park.  Better yet, when photographed for the purpose of keeping a digital memory of their beauty.

“Tell you what… why don’t we just spend the money on a coffee and tart, then buy a Valentine’s cake for home. I can also photograph those flowers at the shop, I prefer that”, said I with excitement, already looking forward to the coffee shop experience and the pink heart-shaped cake.

We were ambling around the Commercial Center  enjoying its indoor comfort from the rainy and windy elements outside.  Thank goodness for Malls like this, we thought.  We are not really Mall-goers but in bad weather like this. it becomes a haven for window shopping and people watching.

  It’s the morning of Valentine’s Day and we noticed that it’s only the men queueing up  at the flower shop.

The flowers..

the pinks, the whites and the hearts

  True Love knows no age..

and here’s a box of chocolates from Jeff de Bruges shop

 the beautiful red roses that look so good to eat than smell


The coffee shop experience.  Well, it literally shook our hearts when this little square thing suddenly vibrated madly and red lights on it started flashing.  It’s to alert us that our paninis are ready!  I think it’s absolutely foolish that coffee shop operators have to go this far – wasting their money on gadgets that could even harm their customers with heart problems!

The pink Valentine cake we brought home.  Oh, that’s a framed photo of H and me.  I thought, in order to practice on  Romance photography, I needed to add something about us but the only photo available that moment was taken sixteen years ago.   Oh well….


.. and pear tart so deliciously good!

Joining Photo Competitions

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this 2015 – aside from publishing my own book –  is to be more active in joining photo contests and reputable Photo sites so that some of my photos will hopefully get more exposure to the worldwideweb.   I have Flickr and some of my photos have been used on Yahoo online as well as in some commercial newsletters but that’s it.  I suppose I have reached a point where I feel I have matured so much as a photographer and it’s about time I start joining competitions.

So my first try which happened this week was with  The Guardian‘s  Photo Assignment on the theme of ‘JUMP’.  I  have submitted three (the first three below) and hopefully,  at least one of them, would be chosen alongside others for their “The New Review” online gallery.  I’ll keep you posted!

1st Submission:  Fishermen’s sons of Mabua showing off their jumping skills, Surigao, Philippines

2nd Submission: This mother jumps for coins thrown in by tourists arriving from a boat. Jagna, Bohol, Philippines


3rd Submission:  This boy shows off his jumping skill infront of a boat filled with tourists
then swims up to the boat hoping for COINS of admiration.  Bohol, Philippines

Not submitted:  Diver practicing in the Seine River.  Paris, France

Not submitted:  We have just moored our friends’ boat after some gentle sailing in Corfu waters when Amber, the daughter, couldn’t wait anymore and jumped behind our backs.  Well, not me and I was glad I had my camera ready to take the shot!  Corfu, Greece

Paris Inspires

I have always aspired to see a Klimt exhibition, luckily, I have that chance today.

Gustav Klimt was the most famous painter of the Secession (the equivalent of Art Nouveau in Vienna) movement. The portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer was one of the most expensive paintings ever sold – 135 million dollars.

This one on the photo is entitled “Judith” (holding the head of Holofernes). I had goose-pimples staring at it! Imagine getting close, looking at one of the most famous paintings in the planet.

It’s the opening day and the queue was kilometric…I’m glad I bought the ticket online..

After the visit, I went scouting for Valentine themes.

Valet service for Fauchon clients.  They know that patisserie on Valentine’s Day is good business!

Street photo exhibition of the Liberation of the Holocaust victims of the 2nd World War, at the back of Hotel de Ville

A Valentine’s Day gift idea…I think the Eiffel tower is cheaper, but romantic, just the same.

Bird:  I hope I don’t grow horns like him!

Boutiques busy putting out Valentine ideas.  I need a large size, please..

Texting her Valentine date

Ooopppsss… he saw me!  Sorry, Monsieur, photographing a café is better when there are customers on it…

Biking knows no age.

Love the boots!


I have seen this lady for hundreds of  times but it doesn’t fail to bewilder me.  It’s not so much as the sight, it’s also what it symbolizes.

National Libraries Day

It was National Libraries Day in the UK last Saturday, 09 February, and this struck my interest because I love books and I love libraries!

When I was growing up, libraries have always been my favorite place to hang out.  Even if not studying for exams, I would just sit there, leafing through the pages of books on history, travel, arts and crafts and everything of  general interests. It was before the advent of the internet and the library quenched my thirst for general knowledge.  And I must have been only 17 when I started to get obsessed reading every publication about Social Etiquette  by French and English authors. In hindsight, could it be a preparation for my future life, that of living in Europe where good social etiquette is part of everyday life.

I love books, too.  If someone gave me cash gift, I would spend it on books instead of going to the cinema or shopping mall.   Luckily, my interest in books also extends to H. We  must have more than a thousand books scattered in all  the accommodations we have.  No, we won’t give them up.  They are very personal to us.   Having a personal library would make us so busy reading in our old age and when all else fails, like a blackout or getting stuck in an island, a book is the best thing to have.

So in observance of this special day for bookworms, here are some photos from my archives:

A quiet corner at John Rylands Library (Manchester, England)

A painter’s private library in his studio.  (Madeira, Portugal)

Fancy applying for a library card here?  French National Assembly (Paris, France)

Found this opened page at the Library of the French National Assembly with a note that says:
Court manuscript, 16 – 17 January 1793
The Judgment of Louis XVI
To the question:  “What sentence, Louis, before you king of France, must be incurred?”  Majority  voted for La Mort (Death)

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”  –  Marcus Tullius Cicero
(Paris, France)

“So many books, so little time.” –  Frank Zappa
(Rome, Italy)

A church turned-library.   (Saorge, France)

Library of the French Senate (Paris, France)

Jesse, after doing a reading is being interviewed by journalists when, lo and behold, he saw Celine at the back of a packed audience smiling at him.
(The opening scene of the movie, “Before Sunset”)
Shakespeare and Company Bookshop (Paris, France)

Probably the loveliest and most charming coffee shop in England. (Whitby)

“Show me the books you read and I will tell you what you are.” – the author’s private library