Gustav Klimt (Vienna, 1862 - 1918) studied at the Arts and Trades School of the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry. In 1883, along with his brothers, Ernst and Georg, and fellow student Franz Matsch, he founded the Künstlerkompagnie, a company that designed sets for different European theaters. In 1894 the rector of the University of Vienna commissioned Matsch and Klimt with the paintings for the main hall. The three works by Klimt, Philosophy, Medicine,and Jurisprudence were considered pornographic. In 1897, along with other artists, he abandoned the Association of Artists in the Plastic Arts in Vienna. The objective of this rupture was to reform artistic life and internationalize Austrian art. The following year, the first issue of the magazine of the Vienna Secession,Ver Sacrum,was published. In 1902 he painted one of his most important works, the Beethoven Frieze.
In 1905 he renounced the university’s commissions for paintings in an effort to “regain his freedom.” His paintings, which incorporated gold leaf, were very successful among Viennese high society. Committed to artisanal craft techniques, he separated from the Secession, which prioritized paintings. In his final period he supported emerging artists such as Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele.