de Gottfried Fledl
Gustav Klimt`s art is thoroughly fin de siècle. It expresses the apocalyptic atmosphere of Vienna`s upper-middle-class society — a society devoted to the cultivation of aesthetic awareness and the cult of pleasure. The ecstatic joy which Klimt (1862-1918) and his contemporaries found — or hoped to find — in beauty was constantly overshadowed by death, and death therefore plays an important role in Klimt`s art. Klimt`s fame, however, rests on his reputation as one of the greatest erotic painters and graphic artists of his times. Particularly his drawings, which have been widely admired for their artistic excellence, are dominated by the erotic portrayal of women. Klimt saw the world "in female form." Author Gottfried Fliedl also discusses the Secession movement and Klimt`s role within this important group of artists.