Happy birthday Gustav Klimt!


Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862—February 6, 1918) was an Austrian painter and a founding member of the Vienna Secessionists. His paintings, murals, and sketches became erotic and otherwise controversial throughout his career. His subject often included the female body.



Klimt was born Baumgarten, in then-Austria-Hungary, to Ernst and Anna Klimt. His father was a gold engraver. He was the second of seven children, and he and all of his brothers and sisters had artistic tendencies. He studied architectural painting at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts until 1883. So did his brother, Ernst, and the two worked with another student, Franz Matsch, on numerous commissions as The Company of Artists. Klimt spent much of his early career on murals, interior and exterior.

In 1888, Klimt received the Golden Order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria for his murals painted in the Burgtheater in Vienna.

In 1892, Klimt's father and brother both died. Klimt became financially responsible for the family. These events intensified his personal style.

In 1897, Klimt founded Ver Sacrum, the periodical of the secession group Wiener Sezession. The group was meant to be a venue for new and unconventional artists to exhibit their work.

In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to paint a mural at the Great Hall of the University of Vienna. The three paintings, Philosophy,




and Jurisprudence,


that became of the project were erotic and highly controversial. Following this, Klimt's style became increasingly risqué, and he no longer accepted public commissions.

Klimt set out to specifically disturb the establishment. His Nuda Veritas (1899) was a prime example of this.

During the first decade of the 1900s, Klimt finished multiple paintings associated with his "golden phase." It was defined by the use of Byzantine imagery and golden ornaments. The most famous of these was The Kiss.


By this time, Klimt was a very famous artist. He rarely socialized with others in the field, and mostly sold his work to those patrons who came to him.

In 1911, his painting Death and Life won first prize at the World Exhibitions in Rome


Klimt's paintings have sold for upwards of $30,000,000 in recent years.

Klimt was in a relationship with Emilie Louise Flöge throughout the majority of his life, though he had many relationships with other women.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 14 July 2014
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