Gustav Klimt, 1914
© Wien Museum, Foto: Anton Josef Trčka

Gustav Klimt biography

Gustav Klimt developed over the course of his life from a decorative painter to a famous portrait artist of the early 1900s. He knew above all how to paint portraits of women. These paintings fetch top prices on the art market today.

Born on July 14 in Baumgarten, Vienna.

Founds the Künstler-Compagnie with his brother Ernst Klimt and Franz Matsch.

Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst and Franz Matsch complete Hans Makart's unfinished decoration of the stairwells of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Klimt joins the Künstlerhausgenossenschaft artists' association.

Klimt wins a commission for the faculty pictures from the University of Vienna (Philosophy, Medicine, Jurisprudence). Klimt's pictures win a number of international prizes. Under fire in Austria, he renounces his commission in 1905.

Klimt leaves the Künstlerhausgenossenschaft to become a founder member and the first president of the Vienna Secession.

First and second Secession exhibitions featuring Klimt's work. His picture Pallas Athene (today in the Wien Museum) draws stinging criticism.

Klimt paints a portrait of Emilie Flöge and begins a lifelong friendship with the fashion salon owner. The portrait is on display at the Wien Museum. At the fourteenth Secession exhibition Klimt presented his Beethoven Frieze, which remains on display at the building to this day.

Josef Hoffmann wins the contract to build the Palais Stoclet in Brussels. Klimt provides the design for the mansion's dining room.

Klimt paints Adele Bloch-Bauer I, now on show in the Neue Gallerie in New York.

Klimt presents The Kiss at the Kunstschau 1908 in Vienna. Now on display at the Belvedere, it was always destined to become the best known of all his pictures.

Death and Life (on show at the Leopold Museum) wins first prize at the International Exhibition of Art in Rome.

Klimt dies on February 6 in Vienna following a stroke. He is buried in Hietzing cemetery.

Klimt hotspots in Vienna: Belvedere, Secession, Leopold Museum, Wien Museum, Theater Museum, Burgtheater, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Albertina, MAK, Klimt Villa

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