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From 1883 to 1892, Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), his brother Ernst (1864-1892) and the painter Franz Matsch (1861-1942) formed a work association that completed numerous projects for public buildings. The trio created ceiling paintings in the Vienna Hermes Villa and frescoes in the stairways of Vienna's Burgtheater, among others.
In 1891, the three artists created a total of 40 images for the spandrel and intercolumnar spaces between the arches and columns of the huge hall in the grand stairway of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The three painters depicted the major epochs in art history with symbolic figures. An information board at the stairway's balustrade offers more details about the depictions and their meanings. After his brother Ernst died in 1892, Klimt ended his collaboration with Matsch.