The Klimt collection of the Wien Museum does not consist exclusively of works by the artist, but also – and in conformity with the mission of a museum of cultural history—includes a variety of objects related to Klimt’s life and achievements. These document Klimt as a person, in addition to the history of his oeuvre’s reception, facilitating a broader understanding of this exceptional Viennese artist.
Mentioned in this context to begin with might be the portrait photographs of Klimt, created by the most celebrated photographers of the time, including Madame d’Ora, Pauline Hamilton, Moritz Nähr, Josef Anton Trčka, and Friedrich Viktor Spitzer, which have contributed in essential ways to our image of the artist.
Portrait of Gustav Klimt in profile, standing facing right, in a pale suit, a straw hat in his hand (c. 1890) by UnknownWien Museum
Portrait of Gustav Klimt in profile facing left (1905) by Friedrich Viktor SpitzerWien Museum
Portrait of Gustav Klimt, half-length portrait from the front, wearing his painter’s smock, with folded arms (c. 1909) by Pauline Kruger HamiltonWien Museum
Gustav Klimt in the garden of his studio (c. 1911) by Moriz NährWien Museum
Gustav Klimt, holding a cat in his arm (c. 1911) by Moriz NährWien Museum
Also found in the collection of the Wien Museum since 1964 as a gift of the Viennese painter Otto Trubel is Klimt’s sole surviving painter’s smock—an especially auratic object given the numerous photographs of the artist wearing it; the collection also includes Klimt’s death mask and a drawing executed by Egon Schiele one day after Klimt’s death in the room where he was laid out after his death at the Allgemeines Krankenhaus in Vienna.
Painter’s smock, Presumably based on a design by Gustav Klimt (c. 1905) by Gustav KlimtWien Museum
Gustav Klimt on his deathbed (1918) by Egon SchieleWien Museum
Death mask of Gustav Klimt (1918) by Moriz SchrothWien Museum
Donation by Josef Hoffmann, 1923
Abridged texts from the exhibition catalogue:
Klimt. The Collection of the Wien Museum
Editor: Ursula Storch
Editing: Ursula Storch and Kerstin Krenn
301 pages, Hatje Cantz Verlag 2012, ISBN 978-3-7757-3360-1