Born in 1862, Gustav Klimt was the principal Austrian Art Nouveau painter and one of the founders of the Vienna Sezession, a group of artists and architects who formed their own exhibition society and denounced the classical academic training of the time.
Trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, he was essentially a decorator and, from 1883 to 1892, he shared a studio for decorative painting with his brother, completing projects which included work in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, in 1891.
From around 1898, after a barren period of about six years, Klimt became influenced by a variety of themes, including Japanese art, symbolism and the work of contemporary English painters like Burne-Jones and Alma-Tadema. The result was the creation of a series of paintings depicting highly decorative and erotic female figures, usually with beautifully embellished backgrounds and clothing.
Such was his success that Klimt became a significant influence on the Art Nouveau movement.
He died in 1918 in Vienna, Austria.