Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna (Austria) on July 14, 1862 as the son of an engraver. In 1879 Klimt attended the Vienna Kunstgewerbe Art School. In 1883, after graduating, he immediately started a studio on his own. His specalisation was mural paintings, and it gave them a fair bit of success.
In 1897 Gustav Klimt co-founded the artistic group 'the Vienna Secession' and was elected to be their first president. Already Klimt had created his own particular style, which became the trademark of this particular movement.
Gustav Klimt's style is highly ornamental. The Art Nouveau movement favored organic lines and contours. Klimt used a lot of silver and gold colors in his work, certainly an heritage from his father's profession as an engraver.
Klimt's works of art were a scandal at his time because of the subtle sexuality and eroticism, and the display of nudity. His best know painting 'The Kiss', was first exhibited in 1908. It was highly controversial and admired at the same time.
He saw himself more as a mural painter and decorative artist and created few paintings on traditional canvas. He designed posters and worked as an illustrator for magazines. The best known is Ver Sacrum, it was more than a magazine. It was a building where artists could exhibit their works and publish their ideas in the magazine.
From 1900 to 1903 Gustav Klimt worked on commissions by the Vienna University for a series of ceiling murals.
In 1905 Klimt had arguments with a fellow member and decided to leave the Vienna Secession. He radically changed everything he was doing and decided to design fashion and jewelry. It was his idea that art should not be confined to academies, studios and canvases.
Gustav Klimt died on February 6, 1918 in Vienna of pneumonia and was interred at the Hietzing Cemetery, Vienna.