Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918)
A leading exponent of art nouveau among anti-conservative Vienna Secessionists, Gustav Klimt frequently provoked antagonism. The Emperor Franz Joseph II even forbade his drivers to go past any place showing Secessionist art. The objections were not to Klimt's sumptuous use of gold and Byzantine ornamentation, but to the barely concealed eroticism in his paintings.
Klimt's effect on other artists was more positive. He himself had been influenced by the Swiss Hodler, who returned the compliment saying, 'I love his frescoes... the freedom with which he treats everything.' And although Schiele later resolved his own colour handling by different means, he too was impressed when he first saw Klimt's work at the 1908 'Kunstschau'. Klimt helped the younger man considerably over the next two years.
Far from Paris, Klimt spent every summer at the Attersee - Austria's biggest lake. He found the landscape inspiring, and some of his best known works were painted there, including The Kiss. Klimt's works on canvas were comparatively few, he regarded himself more as a muralist, which had been his prime route to success.
He died of pneumonia after a stroke in Vienna in 1918.