Artist to Know - Gustave Klimt

Gustave Klimt (1862 - 1918)

His works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects, many of which are on display in the Vienna Secession gallery. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, apparent in his numerous drawings in pencil.

Klimt began his professional career painting interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings. The tragic death of his brother and father affected his artistic vision, and soon he would veer toward a new personal style.

Beginning in the late 1890s he took annual summer holidays to the shores of Attersee and painted many of his landscapes there. These works constitute the only genre aside from the figure that seriously interested Klimt.

Klimt's 'Golden Phase' was marked by positive critical reaction and success. Many of his paintings from this period used gold leaf and a beautiful mosaic style. His painting method was very deliberate and painstaking at times and he required lengthy sittings by his subjects. Klimt's fame usually brought patrons to his door, and he could afford to be highly selective.

As he worked and relaxed in his home, Klimt normally wore sandals and a long robe with no undergarments. His simple life was somewhat cloistered, and devoted to his art and family.

In 2006, the 1907 portrait, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, was purchased for the Neue Galerie in New York by Ronald Lauder for a reported US $135 million, the highest reported price ever paid for a painting.

Adele Bloch-Bauer I

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