(b Baumgarten, nr Vienna, July 14, 1862; d Vienna, Feb 6, 1918).
Austrian painter and draughtsman. A leading exponent of Art Nouveau, Klimt is considered one of the greatest decorative painters of the 20th century. His depictions of the femme fatale and his drawings treating the theme of female sexuality have assured him a place in the history of erotic art. He is remembered for his role in the formation of the Vienna Secession, the radical group of Austrian artists of which he became the first president in 1897 (see Secession, §3), and also for the frequent scandals and protests that marked his later career. These contrast strikingly with the public and official approval that marked him out as a young artist of promise, even before he graduated from the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule in 1883.
Klimt was the eldest son of a Viennese engraver and entered the Kunstgewerbeschule, Vienna, in 1876. He studied under the Austrian painters Ferdinand Laufberger (1829–81...