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Studio Sunday: Gustav Klimt

A photograph of Gustav Klimt's atelier


Austrian painter Gustav Klimt got his start in the late 19th century as a decorative painter, creating embellishments for architectural constructions. The artist is well-known for his figurative paintings, many of which depict romantic or erotic subject matter and incorporate gold-leaf accents.


Klimt’s studio is quite spacious – having never seen his paintings in person, I didn’t realize that they were so large. The studio is big enough to accommodate several large-scale works at once. I wonder if Klimt tended to work on several paintings at a time, or if he chipped away at a single work until declaring it finished.


The studio, at least in this photo, also looks quite clean. There’s not much going on here – two paintings sit as if waiting for the artist to return, but the floor is largely bare, and only the table in the bottom left corner of the photograph seems to hold a handful of art materials – possibly brushes, or maybe implements for applying the gold leaf.


It looks like this studio had a grand window, though the drapes are drawn in this photo. They look like transparent drapes, however – all the better to hide new artworks from the prying eyes of the public, while still enjoying natural sunlight.


Klimt lived from 1862 to 1918, and though his work was controversial during his lifetime, he’s remembered as one of the founding members of the Vienna Secession. The group aimed to provide exhibition opportunities for young and unknown artists, and to encourage more works by international artists to be shown in Vienna. Klimt himself was also an important influence for his contemporary, Egon Schiele.

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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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