In Austria the Art Nouveau movement was called the ‘Secession’. Gustav Klimt is considered to be its founder and his painting ‘The Kiss’ symbolizes the ‘Vienna Secession’.
|Gustav Klimt – Giuditta||Gustav Klimt – The kiss||Gustav Klimt – Judith II|
The early years…
In Baumgarten located near Vienna, Gustav Klimt was born as the second of seven children. He had two brothers and four sisters. All of his brothers showed a talent for art when they were still very young. Gustav’s father was a gold engraver from Bohemia named Ernst Klimt who married Anna Klimt. Gustav Klimt s upbringing was under poor conditions since life was often difficult for immigrants.
|Gustav Klimt – The tree of life|
1876 he started going to the ‘Vienna School of Arts and Crafts’ after being awarded with a scholarship. He kept studying there until 1883 and in 1877 one of his brothers, Ernst, who eventually became an engraver, also started his education in this school.
Together with his brother and another friend named Franz Matsch, they started a company which they called ‘Company of Artists’ and by 1880 they had gotten several jobs from theaters and also aided one of their masters in decorating murals of a museum in Vienna. Thus Gustav started his art-career by specializing in painting murals and ceilings in grand buildings. ‘Allegories and Emblems is one of the more famous series.
|Gustav Klimt – Expectation – Stoclet frieze|
1888 Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria awarded Klimt with the ‘Golden order of Merit’ for his work on painting murals in Vienna’s Burgtheater.
1892 Gustav’s father and his brother Ernest both passed away and he found himself taking care of finances for both their families.
Although Klimt had several romances with several women, Klimt’s life companion was Emilie Flöge who he met in the beginning of 1890s. Gustav Klimt fathered 14 children or more.
|Gustav Klimt – Fulfillment – Stoclet frieze|
The story of Vienna secession
By the time of 1897 Klimt had evolved his own unique way of painting which would represent the Secession movement. Not dissimilar to impressionism in this way, art Nouveau was also a rebel towards the traditional type of art.
Klimt was to become one of the starting participants and also the president of the ‘Vienna Secession’ until 1908.
The purpose of this group was to aid bold aspiring artists and to present to Vienna the best works of foreign artists. They also released their own art-magazine to display works of their members.
They had no set manifest within the group and did not favor any certain art-style. The Greek goddess ‘Pallas Athena’ came to symbolize the group with her traits of wisdom, justice and artistry.
|Gustav Klimt – Adam and Eve||Gustav Klimt – Donna con ventaglio||Gustav Klimt – Flower garden detail|
1894 Klimt received an assignment to paint some of the ceilings of the University of Vienna. The paintings he made called ‘Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence was thought of as having a slightly radical and erotic theme. For these murals he used many materials including ceramics, metal and glass.
1945 after being criticized on religious, political and even aesthetic grounds, the paintings were eventually destroyed by retreating SS forces.
Because of the nudity and the somewhat erotic content of his work, his paintings were considered very controversial in his time.
|Gustav Klimt – Hygieia||Gustav Klimt – Portrait of a young woman|
Since Klimt saw himself foremost as a decorative and mural painter, only few of his works are actually created on traditional canvases. He also worked as an illustrator for both posters and magazines.
|Gustav Klimt – Mother and child||Gustav Klimt – Die hoffnung II|
As a celebration for Beethoven, Klimt painted ‘The Beethoven Frieze’ directly on the exhibition walls in 1902. Although this painting was meant only for this exhibition, the painting was saved, but it was not until 1986 that it went on display.
In the late 1890s Klimt and his family went on summer vacations to the coast of Attersee. There he painted several of his landscape-paintings which was pretty much the only other genre apart from figure-painting which really interested him. Some say he painted these landscapes while looking through a telescope.
The graphic art pieces from the Secessionists were made in very limited editions. As a result they are very scares and hard to come by these days. It is not possible to buy an original poster under a five digit price in dollars.
|Gustav Klimt – Death and life|
Klimt leaving the Secessionists
After disputes and conflicts with another member named Josef Hofmann, Klimt left the Vienna Secession in 1905.
Instead he steered towards jewelry and fashion design. In similar thoughts with Alphonse Mucha, Gustav also believed that art should not be limited to galleries and canvases. This idea would rise again in the 60s and 70s with the Pop Art Movement.
|Gustav Klimt – Virgin|
The golden period
Several of Klimt’s paintings from his ‘Golden period’ was ones to which he applied gold leaf. It is likely that his trips to Ravenna and Venice inspired his gold-style since they are both famous for their gorgeous mosaics.
One of the greatest monuments of the Art Nouveau time was ‘Palais Stocket – the home of a rich industrialist from Belgium.
There Klimt worked together with other artists and his pieces included Fulfillment and Expectation which were among his best decorative pieces.
Between 1907 and 1909 he produced five canvas-paintings of upper class ladies dressed in fur. In the several photos of Flöge modeling clothes he designed it was obvious that Klimt loved costumes.
|Gustav Klimt – Love||Gustav Klimt – Portrait of adele bloch bauer I|
He lived a somewhat secluded life, making his paintings in his home dressed only in a long robe and his sandals.
Most of his time he spent with his family and his art. When his work became in high demand and customers arrived at his door he had the luxury of being very selective of his assignments.
It is said that he had many sexual affairs but he handled them all discreet and thus he steered clear of any scandals.
|Gustav Klimt – Musique|
Later years of Gustav Klimt
1911 at the world exhibitions in Rome his art-piece ‘Death and life’ was awarded the finest prize. Four years later his mother Anna passed away. Gustav Klimt died only three years later at 1918 in Vienna. Several of his paintings were not yet finished when he was buried at the Hietzing Cemetery in Vienna.
The Gustav Klimt posters are mostly recognized by his beautiful sensual females and his gold leaf style and the flowing style that is commonly seen in Art Nouveau.
|Gustav Klimt – Water serpents ii|
Did you enjoy this web-page about Gustav Klimt posters? Please pass it on to others using the share-tools below, or share your own thoughts in the comments section.