July 14, 2012 - 09:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Google's latest doodle celebrates the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt, the Austrian symbolist painter whose work was a cause of controversy for its celebration of sexuality, but which is now counted among the most expensive artworks in the world today.
As The Guardian reminds, born in 1862 in Baumgarten, near Vienna, Klimt was the son of a gold engraver and later became know for the gold leaf which adorned his highly decorated, colourful works produced after he trained at Vienna's School of Applied Art.
As the leader of the Secession movement, a group of Viennese artists who challenged the rigidity of traditional Austrian painting, he emerged as a master marketeer, becoming the only artist in the country to do extensive, authorized reproductions of his own work.
Nevertheless, his eagerness to push the boundaries of propriety met with resistance and, in 1903, he was forced to remove Hope I, a painting showing a naked pregnant woman, from the first retrospective exhibition of the Secession movement.
His most famous painting is The Kiss (1907-08), which reflected his fascination with eroticism in an era when another Austrian, Sigmund Freud, was placing sexuality in the public sphere with works such as his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.
Reputedly the father of 14 illegitimate children, Klimt died from a stroke after contracting Spanish flu during the 1918 pandemic.
In a fitting homage to his memory, in 2010, a Vienna art museum invited a sex club to hold orgies and display related paraphernalia in the Secession Building, the permanent home to Klimt's Beethoven Frieze, his most ambitious surviving work.