Austrian painter Gustav Klimt is one of history’s most important artists, most widely associated with the Vienna Secession Movement. It was his focus on the female body and the sensual eroticism in his work that resulted in some of the most dazzling works of modern art. Most renowned for his ‘golden phase,’ Klimt’s art is on display in temporary and permanent exhibitions around the world.
Educational Videos – “The master of eye-popping pattern and metallic colour.” / 4:07
Inaugurated in 2001, the Neue Galerie on New York City’s Museum Mile exhibits the works of early 20th century German and Austrian artists. The upper floor of the museum is dedicated to fine and decorative art, including paintings by Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele, and Werkstaette. Since 2006, the museum has been home to Klimt’s famous Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold (1907), considered one the artist’s greatest paintings. His subject’s elaborately-patterned gown seems to melt into the golden background, serving as one of the most significant modern masterpieces. The gallery’s collection also includes a selection of sculptures and photographs, highlighting the relationship between the fine and decorative arts in Vienna during the early 1900s.
The Leopold Museum opened its doors in 2001, offering the largest collection of modern Austrian art with over 5,000 exhibitions and the largest collection of Egon Schiele. At the heart of the exhibition are Austrian works from the first half of the 20th century, emphasizing the transformation from Art Noveau to Expressionism. The museum is home to a variety of Klimt’s masterpieces, such as Death and Life (1906-1916), Attersee (1900) and Still Pond (1914), alongside a collection of approximately 100 drawings. Exhibitions at the Leopold Museum represent some of the most significant works by Austrian artists, including Kokoschka and Gerstl.
The Secession Building was erected in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich as an architectural manifesto of the Vienna Secession group, designed to underline their break with conservative exhibition space Künstlerhaus. Above the entrance visitors can inspect the Seccesionist motto, “To every age its art, to every art its freedom.” The Art Nouveau building is one of Vienna’s most compelling constructions, home to Klimt’sBeethoven Frieze, created for an exhibition in 1902. 34 meters in length, the painting depicts Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and can be viewed on the basement floor. The final section of the painting – the embracing lovers surrounded by angels – is also known as This Kiss to the Whole World, and is considered one of Klimt’s most notable works. The upper levels of the Secession building feature a variety of temporary exhibitions by modern artists.
The impressive palace in which the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (Museum of Art History) is located was first opened in 1891, and primarily exhibits works of the Habsburg collection. It is considered one of the five most significant fine art museums in the world, with collections of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman Antiquities, alongside sculptural works and pieces of decorative art. The museum’s stairwell features 40 spandrel paintings and other works between arches and columns, 11 of which were created by Gustav Klimt. The decoration features themes from the history of art ranging from ancient Egypt to modernity. The frescoes are brilliant examples of Klimt’s artistic prowess, and provide magnificent insight into his unique style. Via the Swarovski Optics telescope, visitors can zoom in on the dazzling masterpieces in order to experience them in all their glory.
The Burgtheater was inaugurated in 1741 and is considered one of the most important German-speaking theaters in the world. It features four ceiling paintings by Gustav Klimt created between 1886 and 1888, next to works by his brother, Ernst Klimt, and the artist Franz Matsch. Next to the theater of the antiquity in Taormina, Sicily, Klimt also depicted the London Globe Theatre and the finale of Romeo and Juliet. The sketches for Klimt’s paintings were discovered in the late 1990s in the attic – including the artist’s only self-portrait – and are now displayed in a dedicated Klimt room. Visitors can learn more about the collection on a guided Klimt tour.