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 1917 Klimt was elected honorary member of Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. In January 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.