"I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night... Who ever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures."


Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was an Austrian painter and illustrator. He has been called the preeminent exponent of Art Nouveau.

  In 1883, Klimt began as an artist-decorator. In 1886-92, he 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Burgtheater and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; these confirmed Klimt's eclecticism and broadened his range of historical references.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, the Viennese version of Art Nouveau.

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

The primal forces of sexuality, regeneration, love, and death form the dominant themes of Klimt's work. 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.

Klimt's paintings have brought some of the highest prices recorded for individual works of art.


"Adele Bloch-Bauer I" (1907) Oil and golden and silver foil on canvas, 138 x 138 cm - 54.33 × 54.33 in. Neue Galerie, New York City, NY, USA.

"The Kiss" (1907-08) Tempera on panel, 180 x 180 cm - 71 x 71 in. Austrian Gallery, Vienna, Austria.

"Portrait of Hermine Gallia" (1904) Oil on canvas, 170.5 x 96.5 cm - 67.1 x 38 in. National Gallery, London, UK.

"Hope II" (1907-08) Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas, 110.5 x 110.5 cm - 43.5 x 43.5 in.

"Portrait of a Lady" (1916-17) Oil on canvas, 60 × 55 cm - 23.6 x 21.7 in. Galleria Ricci-Oddi, Piacenza, Italy.

"Portrait of Sonja Knips" (1898) Oil on canvas, 141 × 141 cm - 55.51 × 55.51 in. Belvedere, Vienna, Austria.

"Music" (1895) Oil on canvas, 37 x 44.5 cm - 14.6 x 17.5 in. Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.

"Pallas Athena" (1898) Oil on canvas, 75 x 75 cm - 29.5 x 29.5 in. Historical Museum of the City of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

"Upper Austrian farmhouse" (1911) Oil on canvas, 110 x 110 cm - in. Belvedere, Vienna, Austria.

Text source: 'Webmuseum' ( and others.

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Classicism, Byzantine, Illustration.


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