Gustav Klimt first made himself known by the decorations he executed (with his
brother and their art school companion F. Matsch), for numerous theatres and above
all (on his own this time) for the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, where he
completed, in a coolly photographic style, the work begun by Makart. At the age
of thirty he moved into his own studio and turned to easel painting. At thirty-five
he was one of the founders of the Vienna Secession; he withdrew eight years later,
dismayed by the increasingly strong trend towards naturalism. The sumptuous surface
of Klimt's work is by no means carefree. Its decorative tracery expresses a constant
tension between ecstasy and terror, life and death. Even the portraits, with their
timeless aspect, may be perceived as defying fate.
This painting by the German artist Gustav Klimt was completed in 1908 and currently
hangs in the Austrian Gallery, Vienna.