Gustav Klimt

Five things you never knew about...

Featured March 12
Gustav Klimt

VIENNA One of the 20th century's best-loved artists, Gustav Klimt's 150th birthday is celebrated at museums over his home city this month. But the artist was a controversial figure in his day:

1 Born in 1862, Klimt lived with his mother for all but the last three years of his life before dying in 1918.

2 The artist never married, but reputedly fathered at least 14 illegitimate children with his models and patrons.

3 He had a lifelong relationship with fashion designer Emilie Flöge, his younger brother's sister-in-law, although there is no evidence they were lovers.

4 Klimt hated appearing in public, even in his art. His only self-portrait can be found in The Death of Romeo and Juliet, a mural in Vienna's old Burgtheater.

5 In 1903, Klimt completed a trio of paintings called Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence, which caused a scandal (critics claimed they were pornographic). Sadly, we can't judge this for ourselves: the paintings were never publicly displayed and were ultimately destroyed by the Nazis in 1945.

For more on Klimt shows, see

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