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Gustav Klimt
Painting genius and Pioneer (1862-1918)

Gustav Klimt was a painting genius and pioneer of the Modern Era around 1900, would have celebrated his 150th birthday this year. Klimt spent most of his life in Vienna.

His paintings, in particular The Kiss – one of the world’s best-known images – are rightly seen as epitomizing the spirit of optimism that heralded the dawn of the modernist era!

During 2012, Klimt’s anniversary year, visitors to Vienna can experience how the artist’s paintings have lost nothing of their allure over time.

Gustav Klimt

The Kiss,1907-1908 © Belvedere, Wien

  Judith - Gustav Klimt
Judith and the Head of Holofernes, 1901. Belvedere, Vienna

His brother Ernst, and Franz Matsch accepted a number of commissions to decorate buildings on Vienna’s showpiece Ringstrasse Boulevard. The staircases of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Burgtheater are two outstanding examples of their work.

The legacy of Klimt and his fellow artists’ 1897 protest against outdated concepts of art, a move that culminated with the foundation of the Secession Movement, can be seen to this day: created by Joseph Maria Olbrich, the new Secession Building Exhibition Hall bears the motto of “To every age its art, to art its freedom”.

Klimt contributed the Beethoven Frieze for the building. With 22 pieces by the artist, Vienna’s Belvedere is home to the world’s largest Klimt collection. There are also major works on display at the Leopold Museum, the Wien Museum and the Albertina.