Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Year of Klimt

One hundred fifty years ago, Gustav Klimt was born in Vienna. The celebration has already begun! (His date of birth is not until July 14th.)

Farm Garden, 1905

Although growing up in a large, poor family, Gustav was sent to the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts), which essentially was a trade school back then. After graduation, he began work as a decorative muralist. It was not until after a decade of painting murals that he developed the style we instantly recognize today.  

Gustav Klimt

Klimt in his garden, a prime source of inspiration

Klimt's studio

Klimt is well known for sensuous paintings of women. However, he was also extremely fond of his garden and flowers. He painted many of his landscapes while on holiday and usually without preliminary studies. 

Forester's House, Weissenbach on Lake Attersee, 1912

For the Schloss Kammer painting below, he set up his easel on a row boat after rowing to the middle of the lake.

Schloss Kammer on the Attersee III, 1910

Although Klimt never married, he and Emilie Flöge, his sister-in-law, became a couple after his brother, Ernst's death. Emilie became his partner, muse, and companion until his death in 1918. She was his frequent model.

 Photo of Emilie Flöge in 1902

Portrait of Emilie Flöge, 1902

Klimt was also a master draftsman and produced brilliant line art studies for many of his paintings. Most of them were lost in a fire. I often prefer the studies and drawings of the artists- to me there is something mysterious and so hopeful about them.

Study for Portrait of Amalie Zuckerandl, 1917-18

Portrait of a Lady, en face, 1917-18


Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1912-13

 Study for Portrait of the Baroness Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt

Portrait of the Baroness Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt, 1914-16

The Sunflower, 1906-7

Reclining Girl and Two Studies of Hands (Study for "Shakespeare's Theater", Burgtheater, Vienna), 1886/87
Visit here and here for more information on the celebrations and exhibitions in Vienna.


  1. When I was in the South of France a few years ago, maybe at St. Paul de Vence, there were these lovely dishes with all of his famous works on the plates. I swooned over them, and I still regret not buying them on the spot. Lovely post, Annie...xx's

  2. I would love to see those plates, Annie. Great post, Gustav is a favorite of mine.

  3. Oh Ann, how do you know that I adore Gustav Klimt!!!! Having in mind since last year to write a post about him. Now, you hit me :) :)

    Thank you for this interesting post with wonderful images!

    xoxo, karin



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