A genius and a rebel, without very much consistency in his personal life but with amazing painting ideas and indestructible desire for authenticity. His life can be perfectly described by the Schiller quote he included in his painting Nuda Veritas in 1899 (right) “If you cannot please everyone with your art, please a few. To please many is bad”.
His life is troubled with scandals, alcohol, women and controversy. His paintings are powerful and reflect his inner struggles and the impossibility to reach out the main public.
Klimt and his associates formed a Secession, intending to modernize the old Rococo project Gesamtkunstwerk, the complete work of art (term used to ridiculize Bernini’s project to unify architecture, sculpture and painting in the 17th c.), in a fascinating era of fusion of vision with music. Beethoven’s musical notes, Nietzche’s philosophy would have been incorporated into Klimt’s art if his commissioners accepted his mix of mistery and eroticism. The abstract bits of painting are separated of the dense drawing, showing some relation with the Art Nouveau’s greatest architect, Antoni Gaudi.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I -1907 ($135 million – left) and Adele Bloch-bauer II -1912 ($87.9 million – lower right), are in the top 20 most expensive paintings in the world, both sold privately in 2006.
A very well done site about Klimt and details about his life can be found here:
Some of Klimt’s paintings that were lost during the war can be found here: ‘several Gustav Klimt paintings that had been lost or destroyed over time. Most had been intentionally destroyed by German agents at the end of World War II. Other paintings were taken away from their Jewish owners as the manifestations of the Holocaust swept across Europe.’