Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten in 1862, a country suburb of Vienna, and was the oldest son among seven children. Early on in his career he achieved greatacademic success as a painter of elaborate decorative interiors, but he soon became impressed by the Impressionist, Symbolist and Art Nouveau movements. In opposition to theconservative values espoused by the Viennese Artists' Association Klimt, among others, set up the Sezession in 1897. He died on the 6 of February 1918 of a pneumonia.
Klimtpainted a mural for the Vienna University on 'Jurisprudence, Medicine and Philosophy' at the turn-of-the-century but it received heavy criticism for its incendiary contentand official commissions were few and far between after this. Klimt's avant-garde tendencies, however, were admired by many and he was frequently commissioned to produceportraits, which he did so depicting his subjects in a variety of allegorical themes. He was fascinated with the female form. Paintings such as 'Judith I' (1901) show the femalesubject as a figure of both mystery and intense sensuality. In his most famous work, 'The Kiss' he combines this depiction of womanhood with elaborate decoration in golds andsilvers. The figures are draped in a flat mosaic-patterned robe, rich in texture and colour, conveying a sense of passion as well as wealth.
Klimt's work is still highlyregarded, with 'The Kiss' being one of the most celebrated works of the time. His lustrous designs and supreme craftsmanship have influenced numerous artists and designers. His useof rich textures and strong colours was remarkable at the time and still remains extraordinarily powerful today.
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