Biography

Biography

1862: Gustav Klimt is born on 14th July in Baumgarten, a suburb of Vienna, Austria.

1876-1883: Klimt studies at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna, which offers a progressive education. He meets Franz Matsch.

1879: Along with his brother Ernst and his friend Franz Matsch, Klimt founds the Künstler-Compagnie. They receive their first commissions.

1886-88: The Künstler-Compagnie is commissioned to decorate the grand staircase of the Vienna Burgtheater. For their work on this project, Klimt and his two acolytes receive the Golden Cross of Merit from Emperor Franz Joseph I.

1890: Klimt receives the Emperor’s Prize for his work Auditorium of the Old Burgtheater, within which he paints 130 portraits of real theater goers. The Künstler-Compagnie completes its last major contract, to decorate the entrance hall of the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna. Klimt gradually breaks away from the Academic style.

1891: The Klimt brothers and Matsch become members of the Künstlerhaus, a Viennese co-operative of artists in applied arts.

1892: Klimt’s father passes away in July, followed by his brother in December. Klimt goes through a difficult period.

1894: Klimt and Matsch are commissioned to paint the faculty paintings for the assembly hall of the University of Vienna. Klimt’s portrayals of Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence between 1900 and 1903 cause a stir and are rejected.

1897: Klimt leaves the Künstlerhaus and becomes a founding member of the Vienna Secession, assuming the role of its first president. Klimt spends his first summer with Emilie Flöge.

1898: Klimt paints the Portrait of Sonja Knips, the first in a long series of portraits depicting Viennese high society ladies.

1902: Klimt paints the Beethoven Frieze for the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition, which was conceived as a Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art.

1903: Klimt makes multiple journeys to Northern Italy, where he studies Byzantine gold mosaics in the churches of Ravenna and Venice. These studies start to influence his work. Klimt is working more and more with gold leaf. This is referred to as his “Golden Period” or “Golden Phase”. During this same period, Koloman Moser and Josef Hoffmann found the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops).

1905: Klimt and a group of others leave the Secession following some internal disputes. However, they do not lose sight of their common goal of painting. Klimt starts planning his mosaic designs for The Stoclet Frieze on cardboard.

1907: The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is the apex of Klimt's Golden Phase.

1908: Klimt unveils seven pieces in the first Kunstschau, Vienna’s largest ever exposition. Among these is The Kiss, as well as numerous works of art and craftsmanship.

1909-1911: Klimt goes through an experimental period. He travels extensively to Prague, Paris, Toledo, Rome and Bohemia.

1912: Klimt paints the second portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. He abandons the use of gold in favour of color, influenced by the French painter Henri Matisse.

1900-1917: Klimt paints landscapes while holidaying annually with Emilie Flöge on Lake Attersee.

1918: On 6th February Klimt dies, aged 55, following a stroke,.