Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter, whose Symbolist style led to the founding of the school of painting known as Vienna Secession, or Vienna Art Nouveau. The Vienna Secession was a group of painters who revolted against the trend of academic art in favor of a highly decorative style comparable to Art Nouveau. Klimt s many works include paintings, murals and sketches, often featuring an erotic, yet elegant, female figure.

Klimt was born near Vienna, Austria and although impoverished during childhood, he enrolled in the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, training to be a decorative architect. After helping found the Vienna Succession, Klimt entered his well-known Golden Phase, where many of his paintings utilized gold leaf, such as The Kiss. Klimt s paintings during this time were positively critiqued and successful. These works are considered a maturation of style, and are rich with symbolism, emphasizing a freedom from traditional art and culture.

Upon Klimt s death in 1918, many paintings were left unfinished.


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