One of Austria’s greatest painters would have celebrated his 150th birthday in 2012: Gustav Klimt (1862–1918).
A leading figure of the Sezessionstil movement, Klimt was one of the most innovative and controversial artists of the early twentieth century.
To honor his life and work, the city of Vienna will be hosting a series of special exhibitions. The kickoff begins in October with a show of Klimt’s paintings alongside architect Josef Hoffmann’s work at the Belvedere. Constructed for Prince Eugene of Savoy which served as his summer residence, this magnificent baroque palace is home to the world’s largest collection of Klimt’s including his most famous painting “The Kiss”.
Other exhibitions taking place in Vienna include the Museum of Fine Arts which will showcase items from the painter’s middle period of 1886-1897 and the Albertina which will display 170 works of his unique drawings. Klimt’s last and only surviving studio located in the suburb of Hietzing will also reopen to the public this summer.
Klimt’s work is often distinguished by elegant gold or colored decoration, spirals and swirls, and phallic shapes used to conceal the more erotic positions of the drawings upon which many of his paintings are based. One of the most common themes Klimt used was that of the femme fatale.
In 1917, he was made an honorary member the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. On January 11th of the following year, at the age of 55, Klimt suffered a stroke while working in his apartment. Weakened from the stroke, and suffering from pneumonia, he died less than a month later, on February 6th, 1918. He left many unfinished paintings behind him, among them The Bride and Adam and Eve.
For more information on Klimt exhibitions in Vienna, visit the official online travel guide for the City of Vienna.
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