Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter born in Vienna in 1862. He began (1883) as an artist-decorator in association with his brother Ernst and Franz Matsoh. In 1886-92, Klimt executed mural decorations for staircases at the Burgtheater and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; these confirmed Klimt's eclecticism and broadened his range of historical references.

In 1897 Klimt founded the Association of Austrian Artists ( Vereinigung bildender Künstler Üsterreichs) better known as the Secession on the model of the Berlin Secession launched in 1892. Klimt was elected president.

The Secession broke away from the conservative artistic establishment. Klimt and his colleagues Josef Hoffmann and Carl Moll were for the freedom of individual artistic work and hoped to forge closer connections with the international avant-garde. They embarked on a programme of exhibitions on a scale that has not been seen since.

In March – June 1898, The Secession presents its first exhibition, focusing on international art, it is a great public success with more than 56,000 visitors. In 1907, Klimt met Egon Schiele (1890-1918). Klimt's work is to have a decisive influence on Schiele who died prematurely of the Spanish flu epidemic that killed 20 million persons at the end of the war, killing more thant the war itself.

In 1917 Klimt was elected honorary member of Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. In Janu
ary 1918 Klimt suffered a stroke in his apartment and after a short stay in hospital died from pneumonia on 6 February. Egon and Gustav passed away almost at the same time leaving a huge void in European painting.

His Life is a Struggle was painted in 1903 and was bought in 1990 by the Aichi Prefecture (Japan) for the Museum of Art of the city for $11.4 million.

Is it worth the money ?

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