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Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918)

Lifespan: 1862 - 1918

Related: Austria - erotic art - Vienna Secession - Symbolist art - Art Nouveau

Judith I, 1901 - Gustav Klimt

At the time of its creation this oil on canvas with gold plating, Klimt's painting Judith I, 1901 , was considered the incarnation of the femme fatale.

Klimt lived in poverty for most of his childhood. He was one of seven children - 6 boys and one girl - Joanna. In 1893, Klimt was commissioned to do three paintings to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall in the University of Vienna. His three paintings, Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence were criticized for their radical themes and 'pornographic' material resulting in their not being displayed on the ceiling of the great Hall. All three paintings were eventually destroyed by retreating SS forces in May 1945. This would also be the last time Klimt accepted any public commissions to do work.

Klimt's work had a strong influence on the paintings of Egon Schiele.

Raśl Ruiz directed a biopic, Klimt, starring John Malkovich in the title role. The movie got its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam on January 28, 2006.

The punk/new wave rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees was deeply influenced by Klimt to the point that the cover for their critically acclaimed 1982 album "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" and its accompanying single was based on Klimt's artwork.


Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 - February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of Vienna Art Nouveau movement.

Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, Austria. He was educated at the Vienna Kunstgewerbe Art School in the years 1879-1883. Klimt was also a honorary member of the universities of Munich and Vienna.

His major works include paintings, murals, sketches and other art objects, many of which are on display in the Vienna Secession gallery. One of the founding members of the so-called Wiener Sezession (Vienna Secession) and a periodical "Ver Sacrum". Klimt is known for his use of gold in paintings. This can be seen in the painting, Judith I, painted in 1901. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Klimt [May 2004]

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