He was born in 1862 in Vienna. He was the second of 7 children of a professional craftsman. He only got to the Art and Craft School because he won a scholarship. He was not therefore one of those gentleman artists who could explore their own truth without worrying about money. He worked as a specialist interior decorator in Vienna with his brother and another colleague from art school.
|Klimt design for a theatre curtain Karlsbad 1886|
|Klimt mural for the Burgtheatre, Vienna|
Shakespeare's theatre/ Romeo & Juliet
So he started off as an interior decorator of a very high class type, after a good solid education in classical art, and was a great success. However, he became interested in Art Nouveau during this period, and in 1897 some other artists formed a society known as the Secession, specifically set up to protest about the restrictive nature of the classical art establishment at the time. He was the first president.
He experimented with Japanese, Chinese, Ancient Egyptian, and Mycenaean art. (The first 3 at least I think are more 2D decorative - I don't know about Mycenaean art)
He was commissioned to decorate the University of Vienna, and produced murals which no longer exist having been destroyed in the war - black and white photos were taken at the time...
|Klimt mural - Philosophy|
|Klimt mural - Jurisprudence|
|Klimt mural - Medicine|
|Klimt - the apple tree 1912 (from Wikipaintings)|
The important thing seems to be the colours.
|Klimt - Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park|
This one struck me as having very sinuous trees
A bit Van Gogh-like.
|Klimt - birch in a forest - wikipaintings|
I love the texture of the bark, and the solidity of it.
The background is 2D
|Klimt- the kiss|
you can see some of the interesting use of colour from his
landscapes in the grass, and the use of decoration
in the foreground (as opposed to the background as is
|Klimt - Judith & Holofernes|
This is framed in gold, just as the
wall decorations for his theatres
were. Judith was an
old-testament widow who used
her wiles to get close enough to
the enemy to behead him.
|Klimt - Danae 1907-8|
and of course fantastic portrait painting.
1910 onwards - He stopped using so much gold. For example, in 1912 his Life and Death won first prize at the international exhibition in Rome.
|Klimt - Life and Death|
In fact, the background was gold at the time, but he was dissatisfied with it and changed it to blue after the event.
|Klimt - Expectation 1909|
Klimt said this was
|Emilie Floge in a dress said to have been |
inspired by mosaics
He is said to have designed many of her clothes, and there are some photos of her, but it never seems to say who designed them.
|Klimt - Portrait of Emilie Floge|
I like the two squares of colour in the bottom
right hand part of the painting, balancing
the strange peacock collar.