Gustav Klimt – Paintings Reproductions
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian Symbolist painter and a well known member of the Vienna Secession Movement. Klimt’s inspiration was the female form and there are traces of eroticism in most of his paintings. Klimt’s painting style was influenced by the Japanese art form. Besides painting figurative works he also focused on painting landscapes.
During the initial phase of his career Klimt was a well known decorative painter, however after the 1900s his provocative paintings met with a great deal of resistance and were even termed as being pornographic.
Klimt was born in 1862 in Vienna, he was the second of seven children. Klimt’s father had a career as a gold engraver. He showed early signs of being artistically inclined, in fact his two brothers, Ernst and Georg were interested in art as well. He studied at the Vienna School for Arts and Crafts and lived in relative poverty during his days as a novice painter.
Along with his brother Ernst and his friend Franz Matsch he formed a team called The Company of Artists. They were commissioned to do various paintings. Initially the trio was focused on painting murals and ceilings in huge public buildings. Klimt even received the Golden Order of Merit from King Franz Josef of Austria for his contribution in the decoration of murals and ceilings of public properties.
However the death of his father and brother Ernst put Klimt in dire financial conditions. He had to support the families of both his father and brother. This greatly affected his artistic style. From then onwards there was a drastic change in his paintings and he evolved a style all of his own.
The Vienna Secession
Klimt’s disenchantment with the prevalent art form led to the breakup of The Company of Artists. It was at that time when he met likeminded artists and they formed the Vienna Secession. They were quick to denounce the classical art of their time. However the group was not focused upon a particular painting style but was well known for promoting budding artists and show casing the work of international artists as well.
Klimt was the first president of the group and it was then that he painted his famous painting of the Greek Goddess Palas Athena. From this time onwards Klimt has said to have painted some of his finest works.
Scandal And Success
During the year 1900 Klimt designed a series of three murals for the Vienna University, these included Medicine, Philosophy and Jurisprudence. These were met with a great deal of criticism for their nudity and dark and disturbing imagery. The university refused to display any of his three murals and Klimt was incensed and returned the commission for all 3 paintings. Though Klimt’s work was initially rejected in Austria, he received critical acclaim for his mural the Medicine in Paris and even received the Grand Prix for it.
The 1900s are considered to be the golden phase in Klimt’s painting history. He created stunning paintings in which he made use of gold leaf. This resulted in a style similar to that of Byzantine epic paintings with the most remarkable figures. Klimt remained a bachelor all his life, though he fathered about 14 children. He died in the year 1918 of a stroke.
His most famous painting to date is the Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I. It was commissioned by a wealthy industrialist husband and was with the family until it was seized by the Nazis during the World War 2. In 2006, Bauer’s niece, Maria Altmann filed a suit against the Austrian government for its return. She was successful in winning the case and the painting was auctioned off for a staggering $135 million.