Gustav Klimt in Gold

Gustav Klimt’s style is exquisite and his oeuvre needs no introduction. However, there are some interesting and fascinating information about him you might not know of. Today we are going to list the very best facts about this outstanding Austrian artists. Austria seems to have quite creative, to say the least, minds.

He was inspired by Japanese art

Indeed, the composition in his most typical works has strong resemblance with Japanese traditional drawings and paintings, especially considering the position of human body to the naturescapes and the usage of certain patterns combined with figures.

He painted interior murals and ceilings

Together with his brother and a friend from university, Klimt organized a group titled the “Company of artists”. Their campaign was a successful one, and the group had a lot of offers to work on public murals. Klimt’s father was a gold engraver, so as his brother.

At the beginning he was a traditional painter

Just as many faces in avant-garde Gustav Klimt was not experimenting with artistic styles at first. The turning point of his career was a sad event — the loss of his father and brother, that died in the short period of time one after another. Klimt was devastated and turned his emotions and feelings towards the artistic pursuit of his own individual style.

His paintings were called “Pornographic”

In 1894 Klimt was offered to create 3 paintings for the Great Hall of the University of Vienna. Three works Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence accomplished for this commission were highly criticized as overly sexual and provocative (this description is actually relevant to his entire oeuvre). Klimt’s paintings were not displayed in the Great Hall as a result of a wide public anticipation. After this incident Gustav Klimt refused to take any public commissions. Sadly, these works were destroyed by the Nazis in 1945.

He was a ladies’ man

Not only his art was quite open about sex and its erotic nature, but Klimt himself was know to have numerous affairs with his models. He managed to avoid scandals and preferred to lead quiet private life avoiding social events and gatherings in the cafes, befriending only some of his colleagues.

Not only figurative painting

Although, most of his works dedicated to the opposite sex, Klimt painted landscapes, which he always executed during his trips to the shore of Attersee (lake in Austria). Landscapes carried on that signature golden leafs and Klimt’s unique patterns. Besides nature and erotic works, Gustav Klimt created some allegorical and symbolic paintings, works with mythical or biblical context, and also some portraits.

Klimt’s works are among the most expensive paintings ever sold

Landhaus am Attersee was sold for $29,128,060 in 2003. In 2006 the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I was purchased for the incredible sum of $135 million, which made it into the most expensive painting ever sold.

Legal battles and cinematography

With such commercial success comes a lot of ownership disputes. Maria Altmann had a long battle with Austrian government for some of Klimt’s works that belonged to her family and were stolen by the Nazis during the war. Her struggle became a subject of the 2015 movie Woman in Gold as well as the documentary Stealing Klimt.


Originally published at poisonleaf.com.