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Gustave Klimt

October 15, 2018

Born in 1862, Austrian painter Gustav Klimt became known for the highly decorative style and erotic nature of his works, which were seen as a rebellion against the traditional academic art of his time. His most famous paintings are The Kiss and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.  Gustav Klimt was born in the outskirts of Vienna, Austria, on July 14, 1862. His father, Ernst, was a struggling gold engraver who had immigrated to Vienna from Bohemia, and his mother, Anna, was musically talented, although she had never realized her dream of becoming a professional musician. Perhaps genetically predisposed to the arts, then, Klimt displayed a notable talent from an early age, and at 14 years old left his normal school to attend the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts on a full scholarship, no small matter considering both his youth and the relative poverty in which he had been raised.

But a family tragedy changed Klimt’s artistic outlook profoundly. Indeed in 1890, the Klimt brothers and the Matsch (his mother’s family) joined the Vienna Artists’ Association, a traditional group, which oversaw most of the city’s exhibitions, and the Company of Artists continued to flourish. Just one year later, however, everything changed when both Klimt’s father and his brother Ernst died; the responsibility for both their families falling to the artist as he battled with intense grief. Soon afterwards he ditched classicism in favour of a more personal aesthetic, with symbolist overtones and Art Nouveau ornamentalism.

In 1897, Klimt left the Vienna Artists’ Association and co-founded a new group, the Vienna Secession, which championed the work of young, non-traditional artists, from both Austria and abroad, working across a variety of styles. Under Klimt’s presidency, it would become the most influential group of the time. The painter continued his work with the Company of Artists, but when his dark and raunchy murals for the University of Vienna were deemed pornographic, and eventually refused display, he vowed never to undertake another public work.Did you know that many of his most brilliant paintings were burned?  As many as 14 of Klimt’s works were destroyed on May 8, 1945, when the Schloss Immendorf, a castle in a the small Austrian village of Immendorf that had been used as a safe storage space for looted and stolen art during the war, was burnt down by an SS unit. Among the most devastating losses were Klimt’s controversial paintings for the University of Vienna ceiling, now preserved solely through preparatory sketches and a number of photographs.

I am writing this on October 11th 2018. There is currently an exhibition at the Palais Des Lumières in Paris.

https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/fr/gustav-klimt

I went to see it because I love art. It isn’t a regular exhibit. There are not paintings hanging on the walls; every piece of art is projected in all the room; floor, ceiling, every wall. You are completely immersed which feels amazing and stirring. Basically, art is coming to you. You can sit with friends and still see every masterpiece. It is on till January 6th 2019.His most famous paintig is The Kiss. I’m sure you’ve already seen it. It incontrolably moves me.If you like art give it a go !

Clara

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