Gustav Klimt was born on 14 July 1862 in Baumgarten near Vienna. Klimt not only had a leading influence on "Vienna around 1900", but also influenced later generations of artists. As one of the most famous representatives of Modern Art and founding member of the Vienna Secession, he is until today one of the most important Austrian painters today.
In the years 1876 until 1883 Klimt studied at the Vienna School of Applied Art with professors Ferdinand Laufberger and Julius Viktor Berger. After completing his studies he established a studio together with his brother Ernst and Franz Matsch. From 1885 onwards they painted for theatres in the Monarchy numerous wall and ceiling paintings, of which those in the Burgtheater in Vienna merit special emphasis. In 1891 the commission for the paintings of the staircase in the Kunsthistorisches Museum followed. At that time Klimt was already an esteemed painter and his oil paintings and drawings clearly demonstrated the influence of Historicism. The wide technical and stylistic range that Klimt would have been expected to master in the Vienna of the 1870s and 1880s, the Era of Historicism, was to prove invaluable to his subsequent development as a draughtsman. In 1892 his brother Ernst died which led to the dissolution of the artist company. As Klimt had already attracted attention with the paintings in the spandrels and between the columns at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, he was awarded in 1894 the commission to paint the faculty pictures in the Great Hall of the University of Vienna. In 1897 the artist association Secession was founded and Klimt was appointed their first president. The presentation of Klimt’s first faculty picture Philosophy in 1900 unleashed a tremendous scandal. As Medicine (1901) and Jurisprudence (1903) also did not receive appropriate acknowledgement from the commissioners of the paintings, Klimt repurchased the faculty pictures in 1905. Gustav Klimt gave expression to the idealism of Viennese modernism like no other through his allegories. In 1904, Klimt almost abruptly abandoned wrapping paper and black chalk to turn to the combination of pencil and Japanese paper. In 1905 he resigned from the Secession because of disagreements. The works Adele Bloch-Bauer and The Kiss, which were shown at the Kunstschau exhibition of 1908, marked the pinnacle of Klimt’s ‘Golden Style’. International exhibitions led to him gaining recognition abroad. The numerous studies for paintings, such as that of Adele Bloch-Bauer, document Klimt's never-ending search for a balance between free-flowing drapery and its integration into the surface, between linear swing and geometric rigour. Klimt's works on paper for the famous portraits of ladies of Viennese society form a category of their own throughout his graphic oeuvre. With each commission, he explores, sheet by sheet, the poses and gestures as well as the toilets of those posing for him, whose facial features he makes appear in a distinctive way. In the last ten years he has also devoted himself increasingly to landscape depictions and, under the influence of van Gogh, whose works had already impressed Klimt at an exhibition in Vienna in 1906, he created spiritualized drawings touched by the spirit of Expressionism. Klimt died on 6 February 1918 in Vienna. The works of Gustav Klimt can be found today in the most renowned museums, private and public collections worldwide, such as the Österreichischen Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, the Neue Galerie in New York, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art and many more. While only about 250 oil paintings are attributed to Klimt (inkl. his early paintings), his graphic oeuvre comprises about 4,000 works. In his works on paper, Klimt followed his own creative laws - drawing embodies the first manifestation of his artistic work. Drawings by Gustav Klimt are regularly offered on the art market and achieve top prices. The majority of the art trade is conducted through galleries such as W&K - Wienerroither & Kohlbacher, which specialize in trading original works by Gustav Klimt and regularly present them at monographic exhibitions and international fairs.