what style of art is klimnt
Philosophy was exhibited in March 1900 at the Sezession, and its stress on female nudity caused a scandal amongst Viennese academics, the public and the press. Medicine had a similar reception the following year. Jurisprudence, shown at the Sezession’s retrospective for Klimt in 1903 was the most decorative of the three, but also the most stylized and abstract in design. The influence of the Symbolist painter Jan Toorop is clearly visible in the work. In 1905, Klimt resigned his commission for the University paintings, and – together with a group of like-minded artists – left the Sezession movement. In 1908-9, they staged 2 exhibitions under the name Kunstschau (art spectacle). The first show featured Austrian arts and crafts as well as a display of Klimt portraits and allegorical works, such as The Kiss (1908), his most famous work. This painting aroused strong feelings on both sides, being both ridiculed and purchased by the state.
In his portrait art – a genre which brought him social connections as well as attractive fees – Klimt focused on women, painting portraits of the wives of rich Austrians (eg. Adele Bloch-Bauer, Marie Henneberg, Eugenia Primavesi). Although he had begun this line of work around the turn of the century, he devoted more and more time to it after the second Kunstschau (1909), using a simpler, more painterly style, devoid of dazzling ornamental effects. It was not until 1917 that his art appeared ready to make another stylistic turn – possibly influenced by his knowledge of Egon Schiele’s work. But Klimt did not live long enough to fully explore any new directions.
Gustav Klimt began his professional career in 1880, when he, his brother, and a friend formed the “Company of Artists.” The trio was often commissioned to paint murals across Vienna. While these large-scale, public paintings were initially rendered in an academic style and featured classical subject matter, many of them foreshadowed Klimt’s role in the Secessionist Movement—and his subsequent shift into his avant-garde Golden Phase.
“Judith I,” 1901 (Photo: Gemeente Museum via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)
After studying at the Vienna School of Decorative Arts, Klimt in 1883 opened an independent studio specializing in the execution of mural paintings. His early work had a classical style that was typical of late 19th-century academic painting, as can be seen in his murals for the Vienna Burgtheater (1888) and on the staircase of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
In 1897 Klimt’s mature style emerged, and he founded the Vienna Sezession, a group of painters who revolted against academic art in favour of a highly decorative style similar to Art Nouveau. Soon thereafter he painted three allegorical murals for the ceiling of the University of Vienna auditorium that were violently criticized; the erotic symbolism and pessimism of these works created such a scandal that the murals were rejected. His later murals, the Beethoven Frieze (1902) and the murals (1909–11) in the dining room of the Stoclet House in Brussels, are characterized by precisely linear drawing and the bold and arbitrary use of flat, decorative patterns of colour and gold leaf. Klimt’s most successful works include The Kiss (1908–09) and a series of portraits of fashionable Viennese matrons, such as Fritza Riedler (1906) and Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907). In these works he treats the human figure without shadow and heightens the lush sensuality of skin by surrounding it with areas of flat, highly ornamental, brilliantly composed areas of decoration.
The Kiss, 1907-1908
The Tree of Life, Stoclet Frieze (detail)
In 1891, Gustav Klimt enrolls and becomes a member of the Co-operative society of Austrian artists, and the following year, both his brother and his father pass away. It is during this time that he decides to move to a larger studio, so that he will be able to create more, and will have more room to delve into the art forms he wants to work on in the future. In 1893, Gustav Klimt and Matsch are commissioned to paint the ceiling of the cathedral, in the new university of Vienna. During this period, both artists have a falling out; this in turn slows down the work, since both are taking a different approach in creation. Many of the pieces that were designed for the university, including “Medicine” and “Jurisprudence”, are not widely accepted by the local community, and are met with disdain due to the extreme symbolic nature in the art forms that were created in this public institution.
Gustav Klimt was seen as an artist who was far ahead of his time, and much of the work that was produced during the Austrian born artist’s career, was seen as controversial. It was criticized due to the erotic and exotic nature. Although symbolism was used in his art forms, it was not at all subtle, and it went far beyond what the imagination during the time frame accepted. Although his work was not widely accepted during his time, some of the pieces that Gustav Klimt did create during his career, are today seen as some of the most important and influential pieces to come out of Austria.