Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Art Nouveau movement. His paintings, characterized by elegant gold and colorful ornamentation, express subtle erotic feelings, as in “Die Jungfrau” (1907) and “Dana” (1913)
He was a pioneer whose radical innovations both shocked and fascinated Viennese society. Klimt`s daring, gorgeous paintings dealt with themes like female sexuality and the human life cycle of birth, love and death.
Like no other painter, Klimt focused on portraying the feminine in all of its facets. Women inspired him to create the bold, daring images that became Art Nouveau gems. Klimt conjured up a new image of women, full of fin de siècle spirit and characterized by the burgeoning atmosphere of the new twentieth century.
Replete with sensuality, eroticism, and ecstasy, he created mythic heroines, elegant portraits of refined Viennese society ladies, and erotic drawings of young nudes.
Gustav Klimt became an influential member of the Vienna Art Nouveau (Vienna Secession) movement.
His major works include paintings, murals, sketches and other objects, many of which are on display in the Vienna Session gallery.
In 1902, Klimt finished the Beethoven Frieze for the Fourteenth Vienna Secessionist exhibition, which was intended to be a celebration of the composer and featured a monumental polychrome sculpture by Max Klinger. In 1904, he collaborated with other artists on the lavish Palais Stoclet.
As controversial his work was for his time, he was influential in relation to modernism and the Art Deco movement, not only for painters but for other areas of art such as Jewelry and interior decoration.
Even the artist Klimt was well known in Austria, it took long until he was also accepted in Germany. The German art scene criticised the artist at the first half of the 19th century a lot, but later he was accepted as a pointer of the way of Modernism and modern painting.
The Kiss was the most recognizable of his works. In 2006, the 1907 portrait, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, was purchased for the Neue Galerie New York by Ronald Lauder reportedly for US $135 million.