Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter and artist from the late 19th century. He was an immigrant and had more than five siblings. Having faced hardships and financial turmoil, his family moved a lot looking for cheaper accommodation. This kind of upbringing, along with an artistic mother, made Gustav who he was, as a painter and a person.
At the tender age of 14, Klimt went to the Vienna School of Applied Arts and Crafts. This is where he mastered his drawing skills. As his passion for artwork grew, he started teaming up with fellow painters and worked on many commissioned projects that took place in Churches, theatres, and museums. It was later that he had a change in style and got inspired by Byzantine artwork and design.
The man has had a chequered history both in his personal and professional life. There are things about him that will surprise you and at the same time make you ponder upon his character and personality. Let us look at some things about him not commonly known to all.
A Classic Womanizer
Interestingly, Klimt never married yet he had multiple relationships and affairs. Some say that he even had as many as 14 kids! Most of his clients were wealthy women from the upper social strata. They met Klimt for sittings at his studio where he had his scrupulous flings!
Kimt always made sure to choose women characters even in other genres. For example, in reference to the painting above, Judith was a biblical protagonist who erotically manipulated and beheaded a high-ranking officer to protect her hometown of Bethulia from devastation by the Assyrian army.
You can easily notice his detail and passion for this artwork. The glow he has given to the face along with the expression of the closed eyes, erotic clothing, and pose only suggests sexism, manipulation, and power-play.
Controversial Last Commissioned Project
Gustav had worked on his last project in the late 19th century and the client for the commission was the University of Vienna. However, by the time the painting was done, the client got upset and felt that it represented nothing but pornography and eroticism! As a result, his work never made it to the Great Hall of the university at all.
Sadly, his work did not survive the Second World War. Klimt paintings were wrecked as a result of the fire started by the German SS forces, to Schloss Immendorf castle in 1945. Though the pose of this oil and gold-leaf embrace of lovers remains in usage in the art world.
Thankfully, the 1st-art gallery can recreate such masterpieces of grandeur, controversy, and aura. They can help you with a made-to-order oil paint-based artwork. A visit to their site should be able to solve your challenges of finding good artistry.
Nazi Art Theft Story
Some of Klimt’s artwork was plundered, especially during the Second World War. In other instances, it was reported stolen from the possessions of wealthy individuals of the society. It was much later that these paintings became part of the Neue Galerie.
The above painting is that of Adele, the wife of a Czech business tycoon called Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. Therefore, during the German invasion of Austria and the Czech Republic, such expensive assets were targeted and plundered and stolen by the then Nazi soldiers.
Maria Altmann, the niece of the tycoon filed a lawsuit two decades back, to claim the artwork from the Austrian officials. Eventually, she won the case and got possession of the paintings. In 2006, this same painting was sold for a staggering $135 million to cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder.
Founder President of The Vienna Secession
Gustav Klimt was not very happy with the then art body and they felt the same about his work too. As a result, in the year 1897, Klimt, along with a score of fellow artists gave up their memberships and affinity to the orthodox art body to start their own group. Klimt was unanimously chosen as the President. He held that position till he left the group in 1905.
The whole objective of this secession movement to oppose the academic and traditional view and work created by the then ruling body. Though they did not propose any singular genre of artwork or style, the artists agreed to bring a new and fresh breath in the artwork, the style, and the vision of the art world.
It is widely believed that Klimt was very vocal about the policies of the Austrian society that completely avoided challenges faced by the society and the political climate of the country. This comes as no surprise as we now know that the man grew up in hardships himself and wanted to protect the marginalized.
Gustav Klimt was a controversial person and had a controversial career. His futuristic vision and a frank love for women gave others an impression of his eroticism and cray artwork. This made him both loved and mocked by many at the same time. Whatever the case may be, the 1st Art Gallery has ample paintings in a recreated form for you to choose from, to decorate your walls!