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Artists Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt

Austrian Painter

Movements: Symbolism, Art Nouveau, The Vienna Secession, The Wiener Werkstätte

Born: July 14, 1862 - Baumgarten, Austro-Hungarian Empire

Died: February 6, 1918 - Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire

Quotes

"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
"Sometimes I miss out the morning's painting session and instead study my Japanese books in the open."
Gustav Klimt
"There is no self-portrait of me."
Gustav Klimt
"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."
Gustav Klimt
"Enough of censorship. I am having recourse to self-help. I want to get out."
Gustav Klimt, reflecting on the University of Vienna paintings controversy, 1905
"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."
Gustav Klimt
"Even when I have to write a simple letter I'm scared stiff, as if faced with looming seasickness."
Gustav Klimt
"Today I want to start working again in earnest - I'm looking forward to it because doing nothing does become rather boring after a while."
Gustav Klimt
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"All art is erotic."

Synopsis

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt had many quirks. Once, his patron Friederika Maria Beer-Monti came to his studio to have her portrait painted, wearing a flashy polecat jacket designed by Klimt's friends at the Wiener Werkstätte. One would think Klimt would approve, but instead he had her turn it inside out to expose the red silk lining, and that was how he painted her. But Klimt, Vienna's most renowned artist of the era, had the prestige to do this. He is still remembered as one of the greatest decorative painters of the twentieth century, while also producing one of the century's most significant bodies of erotic art. Initially successful in his endeavors for architectural commissions in an academic manner, his encounter with more modern trends in European art encouraged him to develop his own highly personal, eclectic, and often fantastic style. As the co-founder and first president of the Vienna Secession, Klimt also ensured that this movement would become widely influential. Klimt never courted scandal, but the highly controversial subject matter of his work in a traditionally very conservative artistic center dogged his career. Although he never married, Klimt remains romantically linked to several mistresses, with whom he is said to have fathered fourteen children, despite his extreme discretion about his personal life.

Key Ideas

Klimt first achieved acclaim as a decorative painter of historical scenes and figures through his many commissions to embellish public buildings. He continued to refine the decorative qualities so that the flattened, shimmering patterns of his nearly-abstract compositions, what is now known as his "Golden Phase" works, ultimately became the real subjects of his paintings.
Though a "fine art" painter, Klimt was an outstanding exponent of the equality between the fine and decorative arts. Having achieved some of his early success by painting within a greater architectural framework, he accepted many of his best-known commissions that were designed to complement other elements of a complete interior, thereby creating a Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art"). Later in his career, he worked in concert with artists of the Wiener Werkstätte, the Austrian design organization that aimed to improve the quality and visual appeal of everyday objects.
Klimt was one of the most important founders of the Vienna Secession in 1897, and served as its initial president, though he was chosen less for his completed oeuvre - relatively small at that point - than his youthful personality and willingness to challenge authority. His forcefulness and international fame as the most famous Art Nouveau painter contributed much to the Secession's early success - but also the movement's swift fall from prominence when he left it in 1905.
Although Klimt's art is now widely popular, it was neglected for much of the 20th century. His works for public spaces provoked a storm of opposition in his own day, facing charges of obscenity due to their erotic content, eventually causing Klimt to withdraw from government commissions altogether. His drawings are no less provocative and give full expression to his considerable sexual appetite.
Despite his fame and generosity in mentoring younger artists, including Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, Klimt produced virtually no direct followers and his work has consistently been regarded as highly personal and singular, even up to the present day. However, his paintings share many formal and thematic characteristics with the Expressionists and Surrealists of the interwar years, even though many of them may not have been familiar with Klimt's art.

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Most Important Art

Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1903-1907)
This work, considered by many to be Klimt's finest, may also be his most famous due to its central role in one of the most notorious cases of Nazi art theft. Of all the many women Klimt painted from life, Adele Bloch-Bauer, the wife of the Viennese banker and sugar magnate Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, was one of his favorites, sitting for two portraits and serving as the model for several other paintings, including his famous Judith I (1901). Though Klimt was rumored to be romantically involved with numerous women he painted, his extreme discretion means there is still no consensus amongst scholars as to the exact nature of his and Adele Bloch-Bauer's relationship.

The painting is principally concerned with the dissolution of the real into pure abstract form. Though Klimt depicts Bloch-Bauer as seated, it is nearly impossible to discern the form of the chair or to separate the forms of her clothing from the background. Klimt was largely unconcerned at this time with depicting his sitter's character, and even less so with providing location and context, omissions that were common in all of Klimt's earlier portraits. Klimt's biographer, Frank Whitford, has described the picture as "the most elaborate example of the tyranny of the decorative" in the artist's work. The use of gold and silver leaf underscores the precious nature of the jewels Bloch-Bauer is wearing, as well as the depths of the love for her felt by Ferdinand, who commissioned the painting. It places the work squarely within Klimt's "Golden Phase" from the first decade of the twentieth century, wherein he used dozens of gold patterns and shades of the metal in his paintings to create these glittering effects. Not surprisingly, when the Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere received the painting, it was retitled The Lady in Gold, the name by which it is still sometimes known today.

Despite his move towards modern abstraction, Klimt's work nonetheless draws on several older sources. Most prominent are the Byzantine mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, which Klimt visited in December 1903. Many of these mosaics use a similar flat gold background, and depict the bejeweled Byzantine empress Theodora; Klimt's depiction of the choker worn by Adele Bloch-Bauer in this portrait is modeled on these mosaics, Art historians also trace the eye-like imagery in Bloch-Bauer's dress to Egyptian motifs, while the whorls and coils and other decorative devices based on Bloch-Bauer's initials arguably resemble designs from ancient Mycenae and classical Greece.

Adele died in 1925. As the Bloch-Bauers were Jewish, Ferdinand's assets became targets of Nazi plunder after the annexations of Austria and western Czechoslovakia in 1938, and Ferdinand ultimately fled to Switzerland. The Nazis installed the painting in the Austrian Galerie Belvedere, which renamed it and eventually took the position that no art theft had taken place. Ferdinand died in 1946, but not before willing his confiscated paintings (including Bloch-Bauer I and five other Klimt works) to his nephew and two nieces. These included Maria Altmann, who in 2000 filed a lawsuit to recover the paintings. The high-profile case, which came before the United States Supreme Court, was ultimately successful and the paintings were returned to the Bloch-Bauer family in 2006. That June Altmann sold Bloch-Bauer I to American collector and cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for $135 million, at the time a record price paid for any painting. Lauder gave Bloch-Bauer I to the Neue Galerie for German and Austrian art in New York, which he founded, where it hangs on permanent display today. It remains probably the most famous example of Nazi art theft, having been the subject of numerous articles, books, and films.
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Biography

Childhood

Born to Ernst Klimt, a gold engraver who was originally from Bohemia, and Anna Finster, an aspiring but unsuccessful musical performer, Gustav Klimt was the second of seven children raised in the small suburb of Baumgarten, southwest of Vienna. The Klimt family was poor, as work was scarce in the early years of the Habsburg Empire, especially for minority ethnic groups, due in large part to the 1873 stock market crash.

Between 1862 and 1884, the Klimts moved frequently, living at no fewer than five different addresses, always seeking cheaper housing. In addition to financial hardships, the family experienced much tragedy at home. In 1874 Klimt's younger sister, Anna, died at the age of five following a long illness. Not long after, his sister Klara suffered a mental breakdown after succumbing to religious fervor.

At an early age, Klimt and his two brothers Ernst and Georg displayed obvious artistic gifts. Gustav, however, was singled out by his instructors as an exceptional draftsman while attending secondary school. In October 1876, when he was fourteen, a relative encouraged him to take the entrance examination for the Kunstgewerbeschule, the Viennese School of Arts and Crafts, and he passed with distinction. He later said that he had intended to become a drawing master and take a teaching position at a Burgerschule, the 19th-century Viennese equivalent of a basic public secondary school, which he had attended.

Klimt began his formal training in Vienna while the city was undergoing significant change. In 1858, Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered the destruction of the remnants of the old medieval defensive walls that encircled the central part of the city, leaving a large circular space that was redeveloped as a series of broad boulevards known as the Ringstrasse ("ring street"). Over the next thirty years, the Ringstrasse became lined with trees and large bourgeois apartment houses, as well as many new buildings to house various civic and imperial government institutions, including theaters, art museums, the University of Vienna, and the Austrian Parliament building. Along with the newly constructed municipal railway, the arrival of electric street lamps, and city engineers rerouting the Danube River in order to avoid flooding, Vienna was entering a Golden Age of industry, research, and science, driven by modern advancements in these fields. One thing Vienna did not yet have, however, was a revolutionary spirit towards the arts.

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Gustav Klimt Biography Continues

Training and Early Success

Gustav Klimt (c 1890)
Gustav Klimt (c 1890)

The Kunstgewerbeschule's curriculum and teaching methods were fairly traditional for their time, something Klimt never questioned or challenged. Through an intensive training in drawing, he was charged with faithfully copying decorations, designs, and plaster casts of classic sculptures. Once he proved himself in this regard, only then was he permitted to draw figures from life. Klimt impressed his instructors from the very beginning, soon joining a special class with a focus on painting, where he showed considerable talent for painting live figures and working with a variety of tools. The young artist's training also included close studies of the works of Titian and Peter Paul Rubens. Klimt also had access to the Vienna Museum of Fine Arts' wealth of paintings by Spanish master Diego Velázquez, for whose work he developed such a fondness that later in life, Klimt remarked, "There are only two painters: Velázquez and I."

Klimt also became a huge admirer of Hans Makart (the most famous Viennese historical painter of the era), and particularly his technique, which employed dramatic effects of light and an evident love for theatricality and pageantry. At one point, while still a student, Klimt reportedly bribed one of Makart's servants to let him into the painter's studio so that Klimt might study the latest works in progress.

Shortly before leaving the Kunstgewerbeschule, Klimt's painting class was joined by his younger brother Ernst and a young painter named Franz Matsch, another gifted Viennese artist who specialized in large-scale decorative works. Klimt and Matsch both ended their studies in 1883, and together the two rented a large studio in Vienna. Despite this move and his early success, Klimt maintained residence with his parents and surviving sisters. Klimt and Matsch soon became artists in high demand among the city's cultural elite, including prominent architects, society figures, and public officials. As early as 1880, Klimt and Matsch were recommended by their painting professor, Ferdinand Laufberger, to undertake a four-painting commission on behalf of a Viennese architectural firm specializing in theater design.

Despite the demand, payment for Klimt and Matsch's services was not lucrative. When Klimt, his brother Ernst, and Matsch were handed the job to decorate the grand stairway of the new Burgtheater, the trio found that their commission would not cover the costs of hiring models, so they enlisted friends and family. Today one can see Klimt's sisters Hermine and Johanna (along with all three artists) among the spectators in Shakespeare's theatre, while their brother Georg plays the dying Romeo. Incidentally, this is the only surviving self-portrait of Klimt.

Mature Period

Emilie Flöge wearing a dress designed by Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill and jewelry from the Wiener Werkstätte (1910)
Emilie Flöge wearing a dress designed by Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill and jewelry from the Wiener Werkstätte (1910)

By the end of 1892, both the senior Ernst Klimt - Gustav's father - and his younger brother Ernst had died, the latter quite suddenly from a bout of pericarditis. These deaths profoundly affected Gustav, who was now left financially responsible for his mother, sisters, brother's widow, and their infant daughter. His brother Ernst's widow, Helene Flöge - to whom he had been married for a mere fifteen months - and her middle-class family had homes in both the city and country, where Klimt became a frequent guest. Klimt soon began an intimate friendship with Helene's sister, Emilie Flöge, which would last for the remainder of his life and provide the basis for one of his most famous portraits.

Klimt's pace of work slowed following the deaths of his brother and father. The artist also began questioning the conventions of academic painting, which resulted in a rift between Klimt and his long-time partner Matsch. In 1893, the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Education approached Matsch for a commission to decorate the ceiling of the newly built Great Hall of the University of Vienna. Klimt did eventually join the project (whether at the request of Matsch or the Ministry), but this collaboration would be the last between the two men.

Klimt was asked to produce three large ceiling paintings for the university's Great Hall, including Philosophy (1897-98), Medicine (1900-01), and Jurisprudence (1899-1907). To his commissioners' surprise, for these paintings Klimt chose to employ a highly decorative symbolism that is difficult to read, thus marking a significant turn in his attitude toward painting and art in general. Significant controversy arose over Klimt's University paintings, especially due to the nudity of some of the figures in Medicine, and in part to accusations that the subject matter was vague. The University paintings were never installed, and in the aftermath of the controversy, Klimt resolved never to accept again a public commission.

Founding the Vienna Secession

Klimt's work on the University of Vienna paintings coincided with a broader schism within the Vienna art community. In 1897 he, along with several other modern artists and designers, renounced his membership in the Kunstlerhaus, Vienna's leading association of artists, of which Klimt had been a member since 1891. The Kunstlerhaus controlled the main venue for exhibiting contemporary art in the city, and Klimt and his fellow modernists complained that they were being denied the same privileges of exhibiting work there because the Kunstlerhaus, which took a commission on works displayed there, favored the better-selling conservative works.

Joseph Maria Olbrich(left), unknown, Koloman Moser, and Klimt (1898)
Joseph Maria Olbrich(left), unknown, Koloman Moser, and Klimt (1898)

The modernist cohort immediately regrouped to found the Vienna Secession (also known as The Union of Austrian Artists) in 1897. Along with Klimt, the group included Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Joseph Maria Olbrich. Klimt was made the Secession's founding president. Its founding principles were as follows: to provide young and unconventional artists with an outlet to show their work; to expose Vienna to the great works of foreign artists (namely the French Impressionists, which the Kunstlerhaus had failed to do); and to publish a periodical, eventually titled Ver Sacrum ("Sacred Spring"), which took its name from the Roman tradition of cities sending younger generations of its citizens out on their own to found a new settlement.

The Secession quickly established its presence within the city's artistic scene through a series of exhibitions, in which Klimt played a large role in organizing. Many of them featured work by foreign contemporary artists who were made corresponding members of the group. The exhibitions received wide acclaim from the public and elicited surprisingly little controversy, given that the Viennese had little to no exposure to modern art. In 1902, the Secessionists held their 14th Exhibition, a celebration of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, for which Klimt painted his famous Beethoven Frieze, a massive and complex work that, paradoxically, made no explicit reference to any of Beethoven's compositions. Instead, it was seen as a complex, lyrical, and highly ornate allegory of the artist as God.

Though the Secession was dedicated to the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or the completely and harmoniously designed environment, it attempted to keep art above the realm of commercial concerns, which proved problematic for its members, most notably decorative artists, whose work in designing useful objects demanded a commercial outlet to be successful. In 1903, two of its prominent members, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, formed a new organization, the Wiener Werkstätte, dedicated to the promotion and design of decorative arts and architecture for such purposes. Klimt, who was close to both Hoffmann and Moser, would thereafter collaborate on several of the Werkstatte's projects, most notably the giant multi-panel tree-of-life painted frieze for the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, the greatest Gesamtkuntswerk produced by the Werkstatte, between 1905-10.

In 1905, Klimt and a number of his associates resigned from the Vienna Secession due to a disagreement over the group's association with local galleries, which were not especially strong in Vienna, to market their art. Despite having their own exhibition space, the Secessionists were still dogged by a lack of a systematic location to complete the sale of their work. The Klimtgruppe (as Klimt and his supporters, including Moser and Josef Maria Auchentaller were known) proposed that the Secession purchase the Gallery Miethke, but were rejected by one vote when the suggestion was put before the membership, as the opposition wished to keep the Secession fully separate from commercial interests. The Klimtgruppe's resignation gutted the Secession of its most internationally prominent members; nonetheless, in the years since it has reinvented itself many times - often coinciding with changes in leadership - and today it remains the only Austrian artist-run society dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art.

Late Period and Death

The Japanese Influence: Left: Klimt's <i>Expection, Stoclet Frieze</i> (detail) (1911); Right: Hosoda Eisho's <i>The Courtesan Kasugano</i> (detail) (1795)
The Japanese Influence: Left: Klimt's Expection, Stoclet Frieze (detail) (1911); Right: Hosoda Eisho's The Courtesan Kasugano (detail) (1795)

In the decade between 1898 and 1908, while working as a member of the Secession and on the commissions for the University, Klimt's personal style, which richly combined elements of both the pre-modern and modern eras, reached its full maturation. He produced several of his most famous works during these years that together now comprise his "Golden Phase," so-called largely due to Klimt's extensive use of gold leaf. These paintings include Field of Poppies (1907), The Kiss (1907-08) along with the portraits Pallas Athene (1898), Judith I (1901), and Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1903-07). Despite the respect accorded them today, the reception at the time was not always as kind: one critic quipped upon seeing Bloch-Bauer I for the first time that it was "more blech than Bloch" ("blech" actually being the German word for tin). If Klimt disliked the response to his paintings, he was probably glad that critics never got to see his sketchbooks, as Klimt was in some ways the early-twentieth-century male equivalent of the stereotypical crazy cat lady. He claimed that cat urine was the best fixative, and so his sketchbooks are often covered in it.

In the last decade or so of his life, Klimt divided much of his time between his studio and garden in Heitzing, in Vienna, and the country home of the Flöge family, where he and Emilie spent much time together. Although there was unquestionably a romantic bond between them, it is widely believed the two never gave in to physical desire. Their closeness, however, did not soften Klimt's dislike for using written language: in one letter to Emilie, he got so frustrated that he simply wrote, "To hell with words!" Klimt was equally terse and uncomplimentary when discussing places he had visited; on one visit to Italy, he could only report back to Emilie that "there is much that is pathetic in Ravenna - the mosaics are tremendously splendid."

During these summers Klimt produced many of his stunning (yet frequently underappreciated) plein air landscape paintings, such as The Park (1909-10), often from the vantage point of a rowboat or an open field. Klimt had two loves: painting and women, and his appetite for both was seemingly insatiable. Klimt's personal life, about which he took pains to be discreet, has as a result become quite famously the subject of considerable speculation amongst critics and historians, especially given Klimt's numerous portraits of women. In many cases, no consensus has been reached on Klimt's involvement with certain individual women; while many reports swear by Klimt's intimate liaisons, others - in part due to the lack of hard evidence - doubt that there was any romantic involvement between Klimt and those same sitters.

Klimt in the garden of his studio (1910)
Klimt in the garden of his studio (1910)

While Klimt did not alter his subject matter during his final years, his painterly style did undergo significant changes. Largely doing away with the use of gold and silver leaf, and ornamentation in general, the artist began using subtle mixtures of color, such as lilac, coral, salmon and yellow. Klimt also produced a staggering number of drawings and studies during this time, the majority of which were of female nudes, some so erotic that to this day they are seldom exhibited. At the same time, many of Klimt's later portraits have been praised for the artist's greater attention to character and a supposed new concern for likeness. These features are evident in Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912) and Mada Primavesi (1913), as well as the strangely erotic The Friends (c. 1916-17), which portrays what appears to be a lesbian couple - one naked and the other clothed - against a stylized backdrop of birds and flowers.

On January 11, 1918, Klimt suffered a stroke, which left him paralyzed on his right side. Bedridden and no longer able to paint or even sketch, Klimt sank into despair and contracted influenza. On February 6th he died, one of the more famous victims of that year's flu pandemic. He was just one of four great Vienna artists to die that year: Otto Wagner, Koloman Moser, and Egon Schiele all succumbed, the latter also an influenza victim. By the time of his death, various strands of modern art, including Cubism, Futurism, Dada and Constructivism, had all captured the attention of creative Europeans. Klimt's body of work was by then considered part of a bygone era in painting, which still focused on human and natural forms rather than a deconstruction, or outright renunciation, of those very things.


Legacy

Klimt never married; never painted a single self-portrait intended as such; and never claimed to be revolutionizing art in any way. Klimt did not travel extensively, but he did leave Austria on a number of visits to other locations in Europe (although on the one occasion he visited Paris, he left thoroughly unimpressed). With the groundbreaking Secession, Klimt's primary aim was to call attention to contemporary Viennese artists and in turn to call their attention to the much broader world of modern art beyond Austria's borders. In this sense Klimt is responsible for helping to transform Vienna into a leading center for culture and the arts at the turn of the century.

Klimt's direct influence on other artists and subsequent movements was quite limited. Much in the way Klimt revered Hans Makart but eventually deviated from his mentor's style, younger Viennese artists like Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka revered Klimt early on, only to mature into more quasi-abstract and expressionistic forms of painting. At the age of 17, Schiele sought Klimt out, and developed a friendship with the master that reveals itself today in several comparisons between their works; Schiele's Cardinal and Nun (Caress) of 1912, for example, is undoubtedly based on Klimt's The Kiss (Lovers) of 1907-08. Klimt introduced Schiele to numerous gallery owners, artists, and models, including Valerie (Wally) Neuzil, with whom Schiele began a relationship in 1911 around the time the two moved together to Krumau, in Bohemia (now Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic) - though in 1916 Neuzil returned to Vienna to model again for Klimt. Both Schiele and Klimt produced portraits of the wealthy avant-garde patron Friederika Maria Beer-Monti, in 1914 and 1916, respectively; in fact, initially Klimt declined the commission for the later portrait of Beer-Monti because Schiele had already completed his.

While some critics and historians contend that Klimt's work should not be included in the canon of modern art, his oeuvre - particularly his paintings postdating 1900 - remains striking for its visual combinations of the old and the modern, the real and the abstract. Klimt produced his greatest work during a time of economic expansion, social change, and the introduction of radical ideas, and these traits are clearly evident in his paintings. Klimt created a highly personal style, and the meaning of many of his works cannot be deciphered completely without knowledge of his own personal relationships with those depicted and, due to Klimt's careful discretion in his private life, will probably never be fully comprehended. Other works are virtually inscrutable due to the baffling arrangements of their content. This situation nonetheless arguably contributes to Klimt's stature, as his paintings will continually be shrouded in some sort of mystery and invite myriad interpretations and intense critical rumination.

Klimt has achieved a kind of immortality from the controversy that he generated from the content of his works at the turn of the century and the mystery surrounding his relationships with his sitters, but he may have even surpassed this long after his death with the fates of some of his most famous works. Several of Klimt's paintings entered the collections of Jewish connoisseurs in the 1930s, and this fact, probably combined with Klimt's status as a prominent modern artist, contributed to their confiscation by the Nazis after 1938 and their postwar placement, if not destroyed, in state museums. Meanwhile, the original owners and their heirs - most notably the Altmann family, who held claims to Klimt's Adele Bloch-Bauer I - have since filed lawsuits to recover the paintings for private ownership, some of which have been successful. Such events have raised considerably Klimt's profile as an artist, with the sale of some of these recovered works bringing record prices.

Influences and Connections

Influences on artist

Artists, Friends, Movements

Influenced by artist

Artists, Friends, Movements

Gustav Klimt
Interactive chart with Gustav Klimt's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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View Influences Chart

Artists

Hans Makart
Margaret MacDonald
Max Klinger

Friends

Adolf Loos
Franz Matsch
Emilie Floge
Josef Hoffmann

Movements

Post-Impressionism
Pointillism
Japonisme
Neo-Baroque
Naturalism
Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt
Years Worked: 1880 - 1917

Artists

Egon Schiele
Oskar Kokoschka
Theo van Doesburg

Friends

Josef Hoffmann
Joseph Maria Olbrich
Koloman Moser
Otto Wagner

Movements

Symbolism
Art Nouveau



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Useful Resources on Gustav Klimt

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artist features
Gustav Klimt and "50 Shades of Grey"

Entry on Art Story Blog

Klimt and Egon Schiele Intertwined Fates in Paint

Student-mentor relationship that evolved into groundbreaking art, parody, and love triangles - on The Art Story Blog

The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing of this page. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet.
biography
Klimt (World of Art)

By Frank Whitford

Gustav Klimt: Painter of Women (Pegasus Series)

By Susanna Partsch

Gustav Klimt: In Search of the Total Artwork

By Jane Kallir

Gustav Klimt: Art Nouveau Visionary

By Eva di Stefano

More Interesting Books about Gustav Klimt
The Life and Work of Gustav Klimt

Websites with many artworks and excellent timeline

The Klimt Collection

Reproductions of Klimt's works in New York City

Lauder's Openness Is Sought on Artwork

By Robin Pogrebin
The New York Times
18 October 2007

Klimts Go to Market; Museums Hold Their Breath

By Michael Kimmelman
The New York Times
19 September 2006

4 Returned Klimt Works Heading to Auction

By Carol Vogel
The New York Times
16 September 2006

All that glitters is golden: $135 million selling price for Klimt makes perfect sense

By Alan G. Artner
The Chicago Tribune
22 June 2006

More Interesting Articles about Gustav Klimt
reviews
Sensualist With a Cause in Old Vienna

By Roberta Smith
The New York Times
19 October 2007

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The Wiener Werkstätte
The Wiener Werkstätte
The Wiener Werkstätte
The Wiener Werkstätte was an early-twentieth-century production company of artists, founded in Vienna in 1903, by architect Josef Hoffmann. It developed largely in response to the Vienna Secession, inspiring others to found a company that catered to artists working in all variety of media, from jewelry and ceramics to metalworks and furniture making. The Wiener Werkstätte was quite successful, opening branches into Karlsbad, Zurich, Berlin and New York, but eventually had to shut down due to financial constraints.
TheArtStory: The Wiener Werkstätte
The Vienna Secession
The Vienna Secession
The Vienna Secession
The Vienna Secession was a group of Austrian painters, sculptors and architects, who in 1897 resigned from the main Association of Austrian Artists with the mission of bringing modern European art to culturally-insulated Austria. Among the Secession's founding members were Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Joseph Maria Olbrich.
TheArtStory: The Vienna Secession
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau was a movement that swept through the decorative arts and architecture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Generating enthusiasts throughout Europe, it was aimed at modernizing design and escaping the eclectic historical styles that had previously been popular. It drew inspiration from both organic and geometric forms, evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms with more angular contours.
TheArtStory: Art Nouveau
Egon Schiele
Egon Schiele
Egon Schiele
Egon Schiele was an Austrian Art Nouveau painter. Schiele was initially taken under the wing of Gustav Klimt, but soon discovered a painterly style that was solidly expressionistic in form. While his style was reminiscent of Van Gogh, Klimt, Munch and others, Schiele shaped the female form in a uniquely non-representational manner, often twisting the body and face, making him an early proponent of European Expressionism.
TheArtStory: Egon Schiele
Oskar Kokoschka
Oskar Kokoschka
Oskar Kokoschka
Oskar Kokoschka was an Austrian Expressionist painter, poet and playwright. His work is intertwined with the stormy and dramatic life of affairs, fleeing the Nazis and eventually settling in Switzerland as a master of German Expressionism.
Oskar Kokoschka
Diego Velazquez
Diego Velazquez
Diego Velazquez
Diego Velazquez was a Spanish artist, court painter for King Philip IV, and one of the leading figures in the Baroque period. Known as a master of detail and light, Velazquez's work has been a significant influence on generations of artists and movements, from Realism to Surrealism.
Diego Velazquez
Hans Makart
Hans Makart
Hans Makart
Hans Makart was a nineteenth-century Viennese historical painter, and one of the most celebrated Austrian artists of the city's Ringstrasse Era. Makart's grand paintings, indicative of the Realism and Naturalism movements, were praised for their theatricality, pageantry and realistic portrayals of light and shadow.
Hans Makart
Josef Hoffmann
Josef Hoffmann
Josef Hoffmann
Josef Hoffmann was an Austrian architect, designer, and one of the founders of Wiener Werkstatte, a production company of visual artists. Arguably Hoffmann's most famous work was his Art Deco Palais Stoclet, a private home in Brussels, for which Gustav Klimt provided some of the wall decorations.
Josef Hoffmann
Koloman Moser
Koloman Moser
Koloman Moser
Koloman Moser was an Austrian painter, designer graphic artist, and a co-founder of both the Vienna Secession and Wiener Werkstatte. In addition to designing many book covers and the magazine for the Secession, Moser was an incredibly versatile designer who worked with jewelry, tapestries, blown and stained glass, ceramics and much more.
Koloman Moser
Joseph Maria Olbrich
Joseph Maria Olbrich
Joseph Maria Olbrich
Joseph Maria Olbrich was an Austrian architect and one of the founders of the Vienna Secession. In 1897 Olbrich designed and built Vienna's Secession Building, which housed all of the group's exhibitions. In his later years Olbrich branched out and began designing furniture, pottery and musical instruments.
Joseph Maria Olbrich
Modernism and Modern Art
Modernism and Modern Art
Modernism and Modern Art
Modernism in Art is an approach to art making that promoted the new and industrial world, free from derivation and historical references. And for the new to be possible, old movements were often altogether abandoned, or deconstructed.
TheArtStory: Modernism and Modern Art
Symbolism
Symbolism
Symbolism
Symbolism is an artistic and literary movement that first emerged in France in the 1880s. In the visual arts it is often considered part of Post-Impressionism. It is characterized by an emphasis on the mystical, romantic and expressive, and often by the use of symbolic figures.
TheArtStory: Symbolism
Margaret MacDonald
Margaret MacDonald
Margaret MacDonald
Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh was a nineteenth and twentieth-century Scottish Art Nouveau painter. In 1900 MacDonald and her husband represented Scotland in the Vienna Secession exhibition, an event which brought their art to the attention of Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann, and forever changed the history of Art Nouveau.
Margaret MacDonald
Max Klinger
Max Klinger
Max Klinger
Max Klinger was a nineteenth and twentieth-century German Symbolist painter, sculptor, engraver and printmaker. Among Klinger's most famous works as the marble stature of Ludwig van Beethoven, a central piece at the 1902 Vienna Secession, which was dedicated to the late composer.
Max Klinger
Adolf Loos
Adolf Loos
Adolf Loos
Adolf Loos was a nineteenth and twentieth-century Czech-born Austrian architect, and one of the key promoters and designers of turn-of-the-century modern European architecture. Loos' designs represented a unique blend of classical Baroque-style ornamentation and modern Art Nouveau aesthetics.
Adolf Loos
Franz Matsch
Franz Matsch
Franz Matsch
Franz Matsch was a Viennese painter and sculptor, and for a time, was one of Gustav Klimt's closest collaborators during turn-of-the-century Austria. Along with the Klimt brothers Gustav and Ernst, Matsch was one of the leading ceiling painters and architectural decorators working in and around Vienna's Ringstrasse.
Franz Matsch
Emilie Floge
Emilie Floge
Emilie Floge
Emilie Floge was the sister of Helene Floge, who was Ernst Klimt's widow. Upon Ernst's death, his brother Gustav Klimt befriended Emilie. Emilie and Gustav enjoyed a close friendship that lasted the rest of their days, and although many believe their relationship was romantic, it's widely accepted that they were never physically involved. Klimt's portrait Emile Floge (1902), is among the artist's most famous portraits.
Emilie Floge
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism refers to a number of styles that emerged in reaction to Impressionism in the 1880s. The movement encompassed Symbolism and Neo-Impressionism before ceding to Fauvism around 1905. Its artists turned away from effects of light and atmosphere to explore new avenues such as color theory and personal feeling, often using colors and forms in intense and expressive ways.
TheArtStory: Post-Impressionism
Pointillism
Pointillism
Pointillism
Pointillism is a mode of art-making, first developed in 1880s France, in which all of the paint is applied to the surface as tiny points or daubs of color. Based on the laws of color theory, pointillism relies on the viewer's eye to mix the disparate dots into the lines, shapes, shadings, and color ranges of the full scene.
Pointillism
Japonisme
Japonisme
Japonisme
Japonisme describes the influence of Japanese art, especially woodblock prints, on French artists in the second half of the nineteenth century. Many Post-Impressionists were influenced by the flat blocks of color, the emphasis on design, and the simple, everyday subject matter.
Japonisme
Neo-Baroque
Neo-Baroque
Neo-Baroque
The Neo-Baroque style was the nineteenth-century revival of the architectural style which dominated the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Characteristics of the style include decorative elements of the Rococo and Neoclassical movements. A key example of Neo-Baroque architecture was Vienna's new Burgtheater, which Gustav Klimt and Franz Matsch helped decorate in the early 1880s.
Neo-Baroque
Naturalism
Naturalism
Naturalism
As a distinct artistic medium, Naturalism began as far back as the Florentine School, with artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo, and still survives to the present day. The term is meant to be self-explanatory, referring to the artist's depiction of realistic objects and settings, and their naturalistic movement. A common theme in naturalist paintings is nature's predominance over humankind.
Naturalism
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg was a Dutch artist, who together with Piet Mondrian established the De Stijl movement. Van Doesburg's most famous work experimented with geometric abstraction and archetypal forms. He was also a prominent architect and writer.
TheArtStory: Theo van Doesburg
Otto Wagner
Otto Wagner
Otto Wagner
Otto Wagner was an Austrian architect and urban planner. His appraoch is considered part of the Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil, style of architecture, characterized by clean lines and ornate decoration. In 1897 Wagner became one of the founding members of the Vienna Secession.
Otto Wagner
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