(Austrian, July 14, 1862–February 6, 1918) was a renowned painter as well as a founder of the Vienna Secession movement. In 1833, Klimt finalized his training at the Vienna School of Decorative Arts, where he studied as an architectural painter. Klimt opened his own studio after graduation that was specifically designed for crafting murals. His early work closely resembled late 19th century academic painting and was influenced by the famous painter Hans Makart
Over half a century after receiving his education, Klimt helped create the school of painting known as the Vienna Secession. His style had evolved to favor the ornate and decorative, closely resembling Art Nouveau. The mission of the Vienna Secession was to embrace this new stylized form while also encouraging a variety of artists and expressions. Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists were all welcome. Klimt became president of the school and soon after painted three heavily symbolic murals for the ceiling of the University of Vienna auditorium known as Philosophy
, and Jurisprudence
. However, the paintings were criticized and rejected for their blatant sexualized themes. His most successful works include The Kiss
(1907–1908) as well as a portrait series of trendy Viennese matrons like the Frau Fritza Riedler
(1906) and Frau Adele Block-Bauer
(1907). Klimt's mature style is characterized by concise linear drawings, detailed patterns of gold leaf and color, and a lack of shadow in the human figure.
The artist did not often travel outside of Vienna. His trips to Venice and Ravenna helped promote his gold technique and extensive Byzantine imagery since the areas were also famous for unique mosaics. In 1911, Klimt received first prize in the world exhibitions in Rome for his painting Death and Life
. Klimt died in 1918 after suffering a sudden stroke in Vienna, which left many of his paintings unfinished. His individual artworks have been sold for some of the highest prices recorded. Klimt's Landhaus am Attersee
was sold for US$28 million in 2003. The portrait Adele Block-Bauer
sold at US$135 million.