Gustav Klimt was born in Wienna, Austria, in 1862. Klimt, alongside Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffman aming others, is considered to be one of the operating powers behind the Austrian Art Nouveau movement, and was also one of the cofounders of the Vienna Secession who represented the style. Klimt was influenced by symbolism and his paintings mainly portraits dominant females, which often was considered erotic. Except for his paintings, Klimt is also famous for his murals and sketches, and studied architechtural painting at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts until 1883.
Klimt went through a number of phases with varying sources of inspiration. His early works during his time in the Vienna Secession is mainly inspired by symbolism, and is followed by his “Gloden Phase”. During this phase he often used gold leaf and visited Venice and Ravenna, where he probably was inspired by the mosaic which can be seen in for example “The Kiss”.
The year 1918 brought many changes to Austria: the First World War came to an end and with it many centuries of rule by the Habsburg monarchy. Vienna also had to say goodbye to four artists, who had up until then shaped the art scene of the metropolis.