Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt was part of a 19th-century movement that linked art with mysticism. They painted the ‘language of the soul’ using mythology and dream images. Of this movement, Klimt was one of the most controversial. He received some serious critics about the way he used symbolism in his work. His paintings were too sensual and erotic. Often scorned at the time, his paintings are now considered among the most important ones ever to come from Vienna.
Gustav Klimt started his career as an artist in 1883. Together with his brother Ernest and a friend Franz Matsch he formed the Künstler–Compagnie.. They decorated various walls of theaters, museums and churches with murals. One of Klimt’s most famous paintings, Tragedy, was commissioned by the Kunsthistorisch Museum in Vienna. In 1893, Klimt broke up with Matsch after they had an argument over an assignment. Almost immediately after this break, Klimt’s painting Philosophy received the Grand Prix at the Paris World Exhibition.
Although Klimt did not like to be seen as a womanizer. He regularly had short romances though with the models that walked barely dressed through his studio. It is not entirely clear how many children Klimt had with several of his models. Probably at least three. Apart from his regular models, he also seems to have shared the bed with ladies from the upper Viennese circles who posed for him.
Life and death
Klimt celebrates life in his paintings, as shown, for example, in the popular painting the kiss , in which a couple embraces each other passionately. But the certainty that we will all die also plays a role in the Austrian’s work. A painting like Hope (in which a pregnant woman is surrounded by pale faces) combines the beauty of life with the grief over the inevitability of death.
The book follows Klimt through his prominent role in the Secessionist movement of 1897, his candid rendering of the female body, and his lustrous golden phase when gold leaf brought a shimmering tone and texture to such beloved works as The Kiss and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, also known as The Woman in Gold.
Throughout his career, Gustav Klimt completed hundreds of paintings and thousands of drawings of delicate beauty, many of them featuring the female form. Designed to imitate an artist's sketchbook, this gorgeous volume reproduces Klimt's most beautiful erotic sketches and watercolors.