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Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862-February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and a formative figure of international Modernism that emerged at the turn of the century. Klimt was also one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession, a group that worked to support young, emerging, unconventional artists while claiming no single artistic manifesto or style. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Though he received public commissions in his early years in Vienna, Klimt's work was met with criticism and rejection. Perceived as pornographic and radical, Klimt's treatment of the female body as his primary subject matter was at times openly erotic, but is now considered masterful. In the first decade of the twentieth century, Klimt entered what is known as his Golden Phase, which was marked by positive critical reaction and success. Many of his paintings from this period (which derived its name from the prominent use of gold leaf in his paintings) are considered beacons of the Art Nouveau period.
View all of Gustav Klimt's work.
The Palais Stoclet in Brussels, Belgium is considered to be one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture today. Designed by the Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 for the banker Adolphe Stoclet, the masterful structure is matched only by the art it contains. A lover of art, Stoclet commissioned the artist Gustav Klimt to create a series of three mosaics to complement the mansion’s design. Commonly broken down into three panels, Tree of Life, Expectation, and Fulfillment, the Stoclet Frieze pairs Klimt’s taste for intricate designs and striking figures with Stoclet’s fondness for Eastern motifs, and is certainly one of the artist’s greatest accomplishments. Designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2009, the Palais Stoclet is still in operation today as a private residence.