A local celebrity during his lifetime, Viennese artist Gustav Klimt has become an international sensation in ours. His gilded 1907-08 painting “The Kiss” has turned into one of Vienna’s leading tourist attractions, and his portraits, some of which sell for tens of millions of euros, are among the most highly valued paintings in the history of art.
This year, Vienna celebrates the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s birth with 10 special exhibitions, many highlighting relatively unknown aspects of the artist’s life and work.
Over the past few decades, Klimt has re-emerged as Austria’s national painter, and his work is treated as a symbol of the flowering of arts and science that marked Vienna at the end of the Habsburg monarchy. Today, many of Vienna’s leading creative figures still regard him as a touchstone.
Klimt is “part of Austrian history,” says Erwin Wurm, a sculptor with an international following. Mr. Wurm, known for an absurdist conceptual approach inherently at odds with the Klimt legacy, nonetheless places the artist at the very center of Austria’s artistic tradition, viewing Klimt’s “theatricality” as both a successor to the Austrian Baroque and a precursor of Viennese Actionism, an influential avant-garde movement in the visual and performing arts that flourished in the 1960s.
Gustav Klimt 1862-1918 was born in a Viennese suburb that is now part of the city’s Penzing district. The son of a goldsmith, he was trained as an architectural painter at Vienna’s Kunstgewerbeschule, now the University of Applied Arts Vienna. This is “important to know,” says Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, director of MAK, Vienna’s museum of applied arts. Klimt is “not a normal painter,” he says.
Strange Random Painting Quote:
“It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.” – Henri Matisse (Artist regarded as the most important French Painter and Artist of the 20th century, 1869-1954)
- Gustav Klimt’s Women (explorationart.wordpress.com)
- CheapOilPainting.com Celebrates Gustav Klimt’s 150th Anniversary (prweb.com)
- On Gustav Klimt’s 150th birthday, (artdabali.wordpress.com)
- Gustav Klimt painting on show after more than a century (telegraph.co.uk)
- Klimt landscape fetches $40m – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation (exitlanguages.wordpress.com)
- Artistic inspirations (boticca.com)
- Songs of colour without words (The Golden phase of Gustav Klimt) (todoelorodelmundo.wordpress.com)
- Art Lovers’ Trip Celebrates Klimt’s 150th Birthday in Vienna (prweb.com)
- Most Expensive Painting (celebritynetworth.com)
The painting, Litzlberg am Attersee Litzlberg on the Attersee, easily topped its pre-sale high estimate of $US25 million at the impressionist and modern sale.
Depicting a pastoral scene of towering, wooded hills rising from water into a bright sky, the landscape was stolen after the German annexation of Austria in 1938.
It was only returned this year to Georges Jorisch, grandson of the woman who owned it until the Nazis came.
Strange Random Art Quote:
Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don’t like – then cultivate it. That’s the only part of your work that’s individual and worth keeping. – Jean Cocteau
- Nazi-looted Klimt fetches $40.4m (bbc.co.uk)
- Sotheby’s Rallies With $199.8 Million Sale (online.wsj.com)
- Late-period Picasso and a verdant Klimt bring windfalls for Canadian owners (theglobeandmail.com)
- Nazi-looted Klimt sells for $40M (cbc.ca)
- Degas bronze fails to find auction buyer (cbc.ca)
- Sotheby’s Strong Sale Revives Art Market in One Night (nytimes.com)
- At Auction: $25 Million to Dance With Degas (online.wsj.com)