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 Klimt, Gustav
The work of the Austrian painter and illustrator Gustav Klimt, b. July 14, 1862, d. Feb. 6, 1918, founder of the school of painting known as the Vienna Sezession, embodies the high-keyed erotic, psychological, and aesthetic preoccupations of turn-of-the-century Vienna's dazzling intellectual world.


1024 x 768 91.2K
91.2K, 1024 x 768

Love
Painted: 1895
Detail of a well-dressed woman closing her
eyes and abondonning herself to her first kiss.
A gypsy-like man looks down
on her about to kiss her.
Museum der Stadt Wien
Vienna


He has been called the preeminent exponent of ART NOUVEAU. Klimt began (1883) as an artist-decorator in association with his brother and Franz Matsoh. In 1886-92, Klimt executed mural decorations for staircases at the Burgtheater and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; these confirmed Klimt's eclecticism and broadened his range of historical references. Klimt was a cofounder and the first president of the Vienna Secession, a group of modernist architects and artists who organized their own exhibition society and gave rise to the SECESSION MOVEMENT, or the Viennese version of Art Nouveau. He was also a frequent contributor to Ver Sacrum, the group's journal.

Among the important decorative projects undertaken by Klimt were his celebrated Beethoven frieze (1902; Osterreichische Galerie), a cycle of mosaic decorations for Josef Hofmann's Palais Stoclet in Brussels (1905-09), and numerous book illustrations.

 The Beethoven Frieze
Detail from the first wall of the frieze depicting man's search of happiness. This section shows a naked man and woman praying for the knight (modelled on Gustav Mahler) who will set out in search of happiness. Behind the man and woman is a second woman who gazes on in contemplation. Above the knight other woman give the knight a laurel crown.

Detail from the third wall of the frieze depicting man's search of happiness. This section shows the woman used in the repeating motif sitting. Her swirling hair and the gold behind her have a grain like wood.

1024 x 768 126.0K
126.0K, 1024 x 768

The Beethoven Frieze
(First Wall) Painted: 1902
Secession Building
Vienna
The Beethoven Frieze
(Third Wall) Painted: 1902
Secession Building
Vienna


1024 x 768 110.0K
110.0K, 1024 x 768

The primal forces of sexuality, regeneration, love, and death form the dominant themes of Klimt's work. His paintings of femmes fatales, such as Judith I (1901; Osterreichische Galerie, Vienna), personify the dark side of sexual attraction. The Kiss (1907-08; Osterreichische Galerie) celebrates the attraction of the sexes; and Hope I (1903; National Gallery, Ottawa) juxtaposes the promise of new life with the destroying force of death. The sensualism and originality of Klimt's art led to a hostile reaction to his three ceiling murals--Philosophy (1900), Medicine (1901), and Jurisprudence (1902)--for the University of Vienna.


506 x 1024 86.7K
86.7K, 506 x 1024

Judith I
Painted: 1901
Osterreichische Galerie
Vienna

Judith II

473 x 978 66.0K
66.0K, 473 x 978

797 x 768 98.5K
98.5K, 797 x 768

MORE INFO
The Kiss
Painted: 1907-08
180 x 180 cm
Österreichisches Galerie Wien
Vienna
Adele Bloch-Bauer I
Painted: 1907
Oil and gold on canvas
138 x 138
Austrian Gallery
Vienna

1000 x 765 141.0K
141.0K, 1000 x 765

824 x 766 88.6K
88.6K, 824 x 766

Danae
Painted: 1907
Private collection
Graz

Emilie Floge
Painted: 1902
(Detail from a portrait of Emilie Floge standing hand on hip, in a dress that she designed.)
Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien
Vienna

1024 x 642 109.2K
109.2K, 1024 x 642

592 x 767 62.6K
62.6K, 592 x 767

Bildnis Fritza Riedler
Painted: 1906
Oil on canvas
153 x 133cm
Österreichische Galerie
Vienna

Die Jungfrau
(The Virgin)
Painted: 1913
Narodni Galerie
Prague

1024 x 639 115.1K
115.1K, 1024 x 639

391 x 766 35.2K
35.2K, 391 x 766

Bildnis Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein
Painted: 1905
Oil on canvas
180 x 90cm
Neue Pinakothek
Munich

Die Tänzerin
Painted: 1916-18

492 x 1024 125.4K
125.4K, 492 x 1024

868 x 1200 223.6K
223.6K, 868 x 1200

Mäda Primavesi
Painted: 1912

Wasserschlangen I
Painted: 1904-07

402 x 1024 117.9K
117.9K, 402 x 1024

510 x 741 43.3K
43.3K, 510 x 741

Dame mit Cape
Idylle

800 x 529 67.4K
67.4K, 800 x 529

860 x 1100 193.3K
193.3K, 860 x 1100

Girl-friends
Painted: 1916-17

Klimt's style drew upon an enormous range of sources: classical Greek, Byzantine, Egyptian, and Minoan art; late-medieval painting and the woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer; photography and the symbolist art of Max Klinger; and the work of both Franz von Stuck and Fernand Khnopff. In synthesizing these diverse sources, Klimt's art achieved both individuality and extreme elegance.