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Coming from a modest family, his father being a gilder, Gustav Klimt entered the Vienna School of Applied Arts in 1876. He continued his studies there until 1883. In 1879, he participated in the organisation of the Festzug (silver wedding of the imperial couple) under the direction of Hans Makart.
In 1883 he founded a decoration workshop with his brother Ernst Klimt and his fellow student Franz Matsch. He decorated the ceilings of the Fiume Theatre in 1883, the Villa Hermes in Lainz, the Carlsbad Theatre in 1886 and the Burgtheater staircase from 1886 to 1888.
In 1900, Klimt's fresco entitled "Philosophy", considered an outrage to public morality, caused a scandal.
Gustav Klimt exhibited the fresco "Medicine" in 1901, which prompted an appeal from his patron in the Chamber of Deputies, Minister of Education von Harten.
This was followed by the culmination of the paintings on a golden background with "Danaë" and "The Kiss", two works presented at the Kunstschau, the first group exhibition by Klimt and his friends since the withdrawal of the Secession.
In 1911, Klimt travels to Rome, Brussels, London and Madrid.
Klimt died in Vienna on February 6, 1918 of a stroke, leaving many paintings unfinished.
"There is no self-portrait of me. I am not interested in my own person as an "object of representation", but in other beings, especially women, and even more so in apparitions". Gustav Klimt.