Gustav Klimt: The Austrian Painter of Gold

Portrait of Gustav Klimt
Josef Anton Trčka

The country was Austria. The time was the evening years of the nineteenth century. The place was Lake Atter in Upper Austria. There stood a young man, on the bank of the lake, wearing a long coat. 

The man with the coat had a bioscope, hanging on his neck. He had a small sketchbook in the pocket of his coat, too. The name of the young man was Mr Gustav Klimt. Then, no one knew that this young man would be one of the costliest painters of the coming centuries.

Yes, the paintings which were done by Gustav Klimt (1862-1910) are the talk of the art market for two centuries. His basic love was to paint landscapes. But he got his name and fame due to his portrait paintings.   

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I Gustav Klimt
Oil, silver and Gold on Canvas.
Neue Galerie, New York
Look at the painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. The all-time record of the sale price of portraits was created when Gustav Klimt’s this portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur, was sold for $135 Million. It was in the year 2007. If the present price (2019) level is taken into consideration, the price of this painting would amount roughly to $172.1 Million.  

The lady portrayed in this painting in the year 1907 was the wife of a sugar industrialist. She was the daughter of a wealthy banker, too.  The Jewish gentleman, her husband, was also a banker.  

The Portrait was originally titled 'Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece'. This painting was stolen during the time of the Second World War. It's a long story. Ultimately, after a long legal battle, it was restored to the legal heirs of the original owner.  Presently this painting is displayed at Neue Galerie, New York (Neue Galeria is the German word for New Gallery). This gallery displays the art of twentieth-century German and Austrian artists. 

Gustav Klimt: Whoever wants to know something about me - as an artist which alone is significant - they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognise what I am and what I want.

Though the relationship between the artist and model was declared “intellectual” by some of their relatives, they were believed to be much closer than an intellectual relationship would be. This portrait is a masterpiece painted by Klimt. Klimt. He had taken full three years to paint this portrait. He had used gold and silver in painting the background. The main attraction of the portrait is the artistic gaze of the lady and the richly painted face. The twisted hand of the lady suggests the dignified element of nobility.

Adele Bloch-Baur II Gustav Klimt

Klimt had made the portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur twice. He had never done in case of any other person: painting him or her twice. He did it for Madame Adele Bloch-Baur. The second portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur is titled Adele Bloch-Baur II, as it was a second portrait. 

This portrait was sold for a record price of $150 Million in the year 2016. If the present price (2019) level is taken into consideration, the price of this painting would amount roughly to $159.8 Million. Presently this portrait is displayed at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, which is in Viana, Austria.  It was painted in the year 1912. It was oil on canvas. 

In the year 1906, this portrait was sold for $88 million. Do you know who was the buyer? She was Oprah Winfrey. However, she sold this portrait finally in the year 2012 for a record price of $150 Million.

This portrait was also stolen along with the portrait titled Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer IIt was similarly regained by the legal heirs of the original owner.

The Park Gustav Klimt,

In the life of artist Gustav Klimt, the first decade of the twentieth century was precious. It was precious for two things. One, he used maximum gold and silver in paintings during this period. That is why, perhaps, this period is nick-named the Golden Phase of his life. Secondly, he got several platinum-grade commissions from very wealthy families during this period.

Klimt is known for his portrait paintings. Ad his paintings of women are widely famous. However, as he once said, his first love was landscape painting. Look at one of his famous landscape paintings. This was oil on canvas painted in the year 1909. The 110.4 x 110.4cm painting is presently displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. [All the images are in Public Domain, taken from Wikimedia Commons]

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