Artists / Gallery

Klimt Gustav

Vienna *1862 - †1918 Vienna

As co-founder of the Secession and organizer of the 1908 Art Show (Kunstschau) and the International Art Show (Internationale Kunstschau) the following year, Gustav Klimt was largely responsible for the breakthrough of the international avant-garde in Vienna. Klimt's oeuvre ranges from his engagement with Historicism, Secession art to his late work, the influences of the Fauves and the younger generation of Austrian artists.

Gustav Klimt was born in 1862 as the second of seven children. During his studies at the School of Arts and Crafts (Kunstgewerbeschule), he founded a studio community, the Künstler-Compagnie, with his brother Ernst and his fellow student Franz Matsch. In the course of the Vienna Ring Road (Ringstrasse) construction Klimt received decoration commissions for the Burgtheater and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

In 1897 Klimt became co-founder of the Vienna Secession and its first president. On the occasion of the 14th exhibition of the Association of Visual Artists of the Secession, the cycle Beethoven Frieze, which he painted and which is dedicated to the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, was placed on the walls of a hall of the Vienna Secession in 1902. Klimt's commitment was primarily aimed at renewing the arts and promoting young artists such as Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. However, the scandal surrounding his faculty paintings led to his withdrawal from public life in 1905.

Klimt now worked exclusively for the liberal upper middle class. He painted the world-famous portraits of ladies [Sonja Knips (1898), Fritza Riedler (1906), Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907), Johanna Staude (1917/18)]. In addition, Klimt created, above all, allegorical-symbolic works, the most famous of which is the depiction of a couple, the "Kiss" of 1908.

During the summer months, Klimt often retreated to the Attersee, where the majority of his landscape paintings were created.

In 1918 Gustav Klimt died at the age of 56 from a stroke.