A man who sought after solitude, who spoke only through his art, and went against the artistic standards set by the contemporaries of his time; Gustav Klimt changed the course of art by transforming the culture of the city of Vienna through his influence of Art Nouveau. Controversial and eclectic are understatements when speaking of Gustav Klimt, but Klimt was nothing short of talented. Gustav Klimt's symbolic goal to reconcile the old and the modern, and the real and the abstract made him a great revolutionary artist.
Born to artistically inclined parents, Ernst, a gold engraver, and Anna Klimt, an aspiring musician, on July 14, 1862 in Baumgarten, Austria; Gustav Klimt had expressed artistic gifts along with his other brothers Georg and Ernst at a very young age. Gustav was the second child of seven children. Living during the Habsburg Empire with seven children to raise lead the Klimt family to economic struggles, especially during the stock market crash of 1873 in Austria. The families economic hardships required them to constantly move always looking for more affordable housing. With poverty taking over the streets of Austria, tragedy was not unfamiliar to the Klimt family. Gustav's youngest sister passed away at the age of five from an illness in 1874, and right after, his other sister Klara suffered a severe mental breakdown. The tragic events of Klimt's past helped shape the dark themes and symbolism often misinterpreted in his artwork. Vienna, Austria in the late 1800's was going though massive change. Art was becoming more involved than ever before, but had yet for someone to revolutionize it. As stated in the previous paragraph, Gustav and his two other brothers showed an immense amount of artistic talent in their teenage years, but Gustav was the one always being singled out. At the age of fourteen Gustav was encouraged to apply for a spot at the Kunstgewerbeschule, the Viennese School of Arts and Crafts.