Gustave Klimt was born July 14th, 1862 in the city of Baumgarten located in Austria-Hungary. When he was old enough he enrolled in the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts along side his brother Ernst. During the time they spent in school they formed a group, the "Company of Artists", with there close friend Franz Matsch and received many commissions. In 1888 Klimt became a member of both the University of Munich and the University of Vienna. However, soon after in 1892 Klimt's father and brother Ernst died. This had a severe impact on his artistic voice in the years to come. Klimt was a major figure in the configuration of the Vienna Succession. This was a group of artists that worked together to promote each other and other young artists. Interestingly enough, this art collective did not cater to one type of style of painting, but promoted them all! With his work growing in popularity Klimt was asked to create three paintings for the Great Hall of the University of Vienna. On there completion they were criticized as being to "Pornographic" in nature and were not displayed in the Great Hall. That would mark the last commission Klimt would ever accept. It is at this point in Klimts painting career that he enters the Golden Phase. All of the work you probably know from Gustave Klimt is most likely from this phase in his painting. Some of these world include The Kiss and the painting pictured above, Portrait of Adele Bloch- Bauer. Klimt was inspired at this time by many of the Byzantine works he saw on his trips to Ravenna. In 1911 his painting Death and Life won first place at the world exhibitions in Rome. He spent many of these later years traveling around Italy and different parts of western Europe until his death in 1918. Klimt was a large influence on many other artists. Most notably his younger pupil Egon Schiele, whom you may know. His work has also become a must have for collectors although it rarely surfaces on the market. His painting Portrait of Adele Bloch- Bauer (seen above) ranks 5th on the list of most expensive paintings ever sold, pulling in the large sum of $135,000,000. To quote Herman Bahr in his Speech on Klimt, "Just as only a lover can reveal to a man what life means to him and develop its innermost significance, I feel the same about these paintings".