Gustav Klimt (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 (Austrian, 1840–1884).

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, Medicine, 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.

Timeline

1862
Born in Baumgarten, Austria
1876
Studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule Vienna, Austria
1891
Member of the Co-operative Society of Austrian Artists
1893
Commissioned to paint Great Hall of the new University of Vienna, Austria (series of paintings provoke controversy)
1897
Co-founder & first president of The Secession Mouvement, Vienna, Austria
1900
Receives Grand Prix at Paris World Fair for "Philosophy"
1905
Organizes new association "Kunstschau" (Art Show), Vienna, Austria
1905–1909
Wiener Werkstätte commission; designs mosaic murals at Palais Stoclet, Brussels, Belgium
1918
Died due to an apoplexy in Vienna, Austria

Exhibitions

2007
"Gustave Klimt - Landscapes," Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam
2007
"Gustav Klimt," Fundación Juan March, Madrid
2007
"Schiele, Klimt, Kokoschka e gli amici viennesi." Museo dArte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto
2006
"Black, Black & White, White," Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York, NY
2006
"Toorop in Vienna - inspiring Klimt," Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Den Haag
2006
"Gustav Klimt," Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
2005
"Gustav Klimt - Papiers Erotiques," Musée Maillol - Fondation Dina Vierny, Paris
2005
"Klimt, Schiele, Moser, Kokoschka - Vienna 1900," Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris
2005
"Recent Acquisitions - And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market," Galerie St. Etienne, New York, NY
2005
"Die Sinnliche Linie – Japanischer Holzschnitt, Klimt, Schmalix, Araki, Takano," Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg
2004
"Klimt Schiele Klee: Wotruba and the avant-garde," Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Den Haag
2004
"Das MoMA in Berlin. Meisterwerke aus dem Museum of Modern Art, New York," Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin
2004
"Gustav Klimt - Disegni - dalla collezione Sabarsky," Galleria Civica d´Arte Moderna e Contemporanea - Torino, Turin
2004
"Reflections and Shadows: Impressionism and 19th-Century Style," The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
2003
"Gustav Klimt bis Paul Klee: Wotruba und die Moderne," Albertina, Vienna
2003
"Nackt!.Frauenansichten - Malerabsichten - Aufbruch zur Moderne." Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt/Main
2003
"Espíritu de Modernidad: De Goya a Giacometti," Fundación Juan March, Madrid
2002
"Der Akt in der Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts," Kunsthalle in Emden, Emden
2002
"Klimt-Landschaften," Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna
2002
"Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung des Kunstmuseums Solothurn," Kunstmuseum Solothurn, Solothurn
2002
"La collezione Rau. Sei secoli di grande pittura europea," Galleria dArte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, Bergamo
2001
"Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making," National Gallery of Canada - Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
2001
"Ornament und Abstraktion," Foundation Beyeler, Riehen
2001
"A Legacy For Learning," Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA
2000
"Klimt und die Frauen," Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna
1999
"Lineamente International: Von der Linie zur Zeichnung," Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz
1999
"De Durero a Rauschenberg: La quintaesencia del dibujo," Museo Guggenheim de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo, Bilbao
1992
Gustav Klimt, Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland
1989
Gustav Klimt (50th Anniversary Exhibition), Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1987
Gustav Klimt, Musées des Beaux Arts Brussels, Belgium
1987
Gustav Klimt: 100 Dessins, Foundation Giannada Martigny, Switzerland
1986
Vienne 1880-1938, Centre Pompidou Paris, France
1986
Vienna 1900, Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1986
Viennese Design & the Wiener Werkstätte, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1986
Otto Kallir-Nirenstein: Ein Wegbereiter Österreichischer Kunst, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien Vienna, Austria
1985
Traum und Wirklichkeit, Künstlerhaus Vienna, Austria
1985
Gustav Klimt--Egon Schiele, Tokyo Art Gallery Tokyo, Japan
1984
Gustav Klimt: Zeichnungen aus amerikanischem Privatbesitz, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien Vienna, Austria
1984
Le Arti a Vienna, Palazzo Grassi Venice, Italy
1984
Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1983
Gustav Klimt: Drawings & Paintings, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1981
Austria's Expressionism, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1980
Gustav Klimt--Egon Schiele, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1970
Gustav Klimt: Drawings, Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1969
Creative Austria--20th century, Philadelphia Civic Center Philadelphia, PA
1968
Gustav Klimt--Egon Schiele, Albertina Vienna, Austria
1965
Gustav Klimt--Egon Schiele, Guggenheim Museum New York, NY
1964
Austrian Expressionists, Galerie St. Etienne and other venues New York, NY
1963
Viennese Expressionism 1910-24, University of California and other venues Berkeley, CA
1959
Gustav Klimt: Paintings (1st American show), Galerie St. Etienne New York, NY
1958
Gustav Klimt: Gedächtnisausstellung, Albertina Vienna, Austria
1926
Gustav Klimt: Gedächtnisausstellung, Vienna Secession Vienna, Austria
1926
Gustav Klimt, Neue Galerie Vienna, Austria
1918
Gustav Klimt: Handzeichnungen, Kunstsalon Nebehay Vienna, Austria
1910
Gustav Klimt, Galerie Miethke Vienna, Austria
1909
Internationale Kunstschau, Vienna, Austria
1908
Kunstschau, Vienna, Austria
1902
14th Secession Exhibition; including Klimt's Beethoven Frieze, Secession Vienna, Austria
1898
First exhibition of the Vienna Secession, Secession Vienna, Austria