Staying with the topic of Art Nouveau we are going to have a look at some interesting facts about Gustav Klimt, who if you remember we looked at shortly before we finished school due to the current crisis. Do you remember much about Gustav Klimt? If yes then don’t worry you are sure to learn something new, if no then fear not because here are some of the top facts about this innovative and revolutionary artist.
1. He was the founding president of the Vienna Secession (a group of twenty other painters, sculptors and architects renounced the conservative Künstlerhaus to form their own artistic group).
2. Women were his favourite subjects…and he was a notorious womaniser (someone who has a lot of “relationships” with women).
3. Although he surrounded himself with women, Klimt never married.
4. Klimt didn’t just paint he also designed a variety of things including fabric patterns
5. He loved cats. He had many pet cats, including his beloved Katze (very imaginative name as it is German for cat), pictured with the artist in an evocative 1912 photograph (see below).
7. Like his cultural contemporary Sigmund Freud, Klimt was fascinated by human sexuality, dreams and the unconscious.
8. While most famous for his figural (paintings of people) works, Klimt was also a landscape painter.
9. His paintings were the subject of perhaps the most famous case of Nazi art theft. The Czech sugar magnate Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer owned five Klimt paintings, including two portraits of his wife, Adele. After the annexations of Czechoslovakia and Austria in 1938, the Nazi’s took many of their valuables including the paintings. Years later Bloch-Bauer’s niece, Maria Altmann, filed a lawsuit to recover the paintings from the Austrian government; the suit was ultimately successful. In 2006, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (see below) was sold for the record-breaking sum of $135 million to cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder.
10. He died in 1918 at the age of 55, a victim of the global flu pandemic (sadly an echo of our current times).
These were ten interesting facts about Klimt that I selected and compiled from the auction house Sotheby’s go over to their website to see more facts and a selection of his beautiful works of art.