September 11, 2006
"I have the gift of neither the spoken nor the written word, especially if I have to say something about myself or my work. Whoever wants to know something about me -as an artist, the only notable thing- ought to look carefully at my pictures and try and see in them what I am and what I want to do." Gustav Klimt
Mr. Klimt may not have had the gift of gab, but he found the pot of gold (posthumously of course) when this painting was sold this year for 136 million dollars. I wish I knew what I did with my paint box.
Gustav Klimt was born July 14, 1862 in Baumgarten located near Vienna, Austria. Abject poverty described Gustav Klimt’s family in his youth. At age 14 Gustav Klimt quit school, but managed to get into an art college. Transferring to another arts and crafts college in Vienna, Gustav Klimt, his brother, and another friend began to earn commissions while Gustav was still in school.
Gustav Klimt’s early art career was primarily involved in decorating architecture including theaters, museums and churches. Paintings produced on commission from the University of Vienna resulted in much criticism and notoriety. This lead eventually to Gustav Klimt resigning the commission, reclaiming three paintings submitted to that point, and returning the advance money.
Gustav Klimt never again worked on a state commission project. Believing that his free expression as an artist was endangered, Gustav Klimt collaborated in founding the Secession movement. The three main thrusts of the Secession movement were: bringing to light young alternative artists; to bring quality foreign art to Vienna; and to publish a magazine. Gustav Klimt left this movement in 1905.
He also was a main proponent of the movement that came to be know as Art Nouveau. Creativity was the passion in his life. He progressed through stages in technique, subject matter and themes. Gustav Klimt died in February of 1918.