Gustav Klimt

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Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Klimt's primary subject was the female body,[1] and his works are marked by a frank eroticism—nowhere is this more apparent than in his numerous drawings in pencil (see Mulher sentada, below).[2]

Contents

Life and work

Early life and education

Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, the second of seven children — three boys and four girls.[3] All three sons displayed artistic talent early on. His father, Ernst Klimt, formerly from Bohemia, was a gold engraver.[4] Ernst married Anna Klimt (née Finster), whose unrealized ambition was to be a musical performer. Klimt lived in poverty for most of his childhood, as work was scarce and economic advancement was difficult for immigrants.

In 1876, Klimt was awarded a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts (Kunstgewerbeschule), where he studied until 1883, and received training as an architectural painter.[4] He revered the foremost history painter of the time, Hans Makart. Klimt readily accepted the principles of a conservative training; his early work may be classified as academic.[4] In 1877 his brother Ernst, who, like his father, would become an engraver, also enrolled in the school. The two brothers and their friend Franz Matsch began working together; by 1880 they had received numerous commissions as a team they called the "Company of Artists", and helped their teacher in painting murals in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.[4] Klimt began his professional career painting interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings on the Ringstraße including a successful series of "Allegories and Emblems".

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