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Gustav Klimt
(1862-1918)

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Art for the Times, Freedom for the Art
These are the words written above the entrance of the
building, called the "Wiener Secession", built in 1898

In 1897 a group of avantgarde artists, among them famous names like Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph M. Olbrich, Kolo Moser and Karl Moll, renounced from the conservative "Künstlerhaus" and founded the "Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs-Wiener Secession" (association of formative artists in Austria-Viennese Secession). 

They called for new aesthestic forms of expression, suitable for modern life and the retreat from the tendency of historism in those days. Art should be in its development free and independent, not bound by orders and kept away from commercial interests. 

Thus an exhibition place of their own was a prerequisite. Already in 1898 a house was built, according to the plans of M. Olbrich who was a pupil and a colleague of Otto Wagner. 

  • Austria 1998.  100th anniversary of the Secession. 

Austria 1998. Gustav Klimt. Art Nouveau. 100th anniversary of the Secession.

It was a modern, functional building. Its features were the very expression of protest against the historic architecture, so typical for Vienna at the end of the 19th century. In the course of the years the Secession became rebuilt serveral times and extentions being added. The repairs of the damages caused by World War II, broke finally up the original conception by Olbrich. In 1985 the long called for general renovation took place to restore that old conception. The amount of work carried out was almost equivalent to building a new house. 

Gustav Klimt photographed around 1901.

Gustav Klimt was the founder of the Vienna Secession, the Austrian Art Nouveau Movement. 

His early work, consisting principally of large murals for theatres, was painted in an unremarkable naturalistic style. After 1898, Klimt's work moved towards greater innovation and imagination, taking on a more decorative, symbolic aspect. 

  • Gustav Klimt photographed around 1901. 

He continued to paint murals, but the harsh public criticism of the three murals Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence (1900-1902, Vienna University; destroyed 1945) led him to concentrate on panel painting. Klimt's best-known works are his later portraits, such as Frau Fritsa Reidler (1906, Österreichische Galerie, Vienna), with their flat, unshadowed surfaces, translucent, mosaic colours and forms, and sinuous, curling background lines and patterns. Among his most admired works is the series of mosaic murals (1905-1909) in the Palais Stoclet, an opulent private mansion in Brussels designed by the architect Josef Hoffmann, who was also a member of the Vienna Secession Movement (middle stamp in the bottom row).  

Klimt was born on July 14, 1862, the son of a gold engraver. He was one of the founder members of the Secession, and from 1897 to 1899 was its first President. However, differences arose at the beginning of 1905, and the "Klimt Group" withdrew from the Secession. 
 
France 2001. Gustav Klimt. Art Nouveau. "The Kiss". . Fragment. Austria 2003. Gustav Klimt. Art Nouveau. "Judith 1". Austria 1964. Gustav Klimt. Art Nouveau. "The Kiss". Fragment.

Klimt is the main representative of the Viennese Jugendstil (art nouveau). His influence extended not only to the Secession and the Vienna School of Applied Arts, but also to the Wiener Werkstätte, and Austrian painting at the turn of the century was decisively marked by his art. Klimt was an honorary member of the Academies of Fine Arts in Vienna and Munich. 

 
Austria 1980. Gustav Klimt. Art Nouveau. Hygieia.

Belgium 1987. Gustav Klimt. Art Nouveau. Eurpean Cultural Festival Europalia '87.  "Waiting".

Austria 1987. Gustav Klimt. Art Nouveau. From the Austrian National Exhibition "The Time of Emperor Franz Joseph.  Adele Bloch-Bauer.

Gustav Klimt died on February 6, 1918 in Vienna, and is buried in the Hietzing cemetery. 

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