Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918)
Born around the city of Wien, his father was a bohemian gold engraver and his mother was a musician that could not follow his artistic vocation. The young Gustav revealed his talent and at the age of 14 years old he was accepted to Wien School of Arts with a full scholarship. After his studies he opened an atelier together with his brother Ernst and their friend Franz Masch, gaining immediately a big success: they got commissions from the local aristocracy and they realized various public works into theatres and churches. The trio was celebrated in 1888 by the Emperor Franz Josef I for its achievements.
In 1892 a tragic event marked the course of Klimt’s life and art: both his father and his brother died and he was profoundly affected by it. He rejected the classical models descended from his academic instruction and he started working on a personal style, based on decorative and erotic shades. He soon got in touch with 19 similar-minded artists, and together they gave birth to the Secession movement, which encouraged the popularity of non-traditional art, in opposition to the classical and academic production. In the following years he started knowing the success and the prices started to rain over him. At the beginning of 1900 took place his “golden phase”: his use of golden and the absence of prospective is easily referable to the Middle-Aged Byzantine mosaics, and after some feminine figures he achieved realizing his masterpieces, The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) and The Kiss (1908).
His favorite subjects were women, especially during his last years, when he was influenced by Impressionism and by the will to make his production more spontaneous.
He died because of a stroke during a trip to Romania.