Discover the Largest Collection of Klimt Paintings at the Belvedere

The exceptional Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) is closely associated in many aspects with the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, which houses the most significant collection of Austrian art

By Belvedere

Belvedere, Wien

Das Obere BelvedereBelvedere

The Belvedere collection includes 24 Klimt paintings. It also includes other works that are on permanent loan to the museum from their private owners. The Belvedere therefore has the largest single collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt in its possession.

The Kiss (1908-1909) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) was one of the champions of Viennese Modernism around 1900 and is considered one of the most important 20th-century artists in the world.

The Belvedere also houses the most important collection of paintings by Austrian artists. The focal point of the collection is Austrian painting and sculpture from the 14th, 15th, and 18th through 21st centuries.

Moderne Galerie (c. 1903)Belvedere

The museum was founded in 1903 as the "Modern Gallery”.

Moderne Galerie, Marmorsaal (c. 1903)Belvedere

At that time, many artists supported its foundation, among them Gustav Klimt and other members of the Secession.

Moderne Galerie, Marmorsaal (c. 1903)Belvedere

The "Modern Gallery" was the first state museum not to emerge from the imperial collections.

Moderne Galerie, Groteskensaal (c. 1903)Belvedere

Moderne Galerie (c. 1903)Belvedere

In 1912, the museum was renamed the "Österreichische Staatsgalerie" (Imperial and Royal Gallery) and the scope of the collection was extended to earlier periods.

Moderne Galerie, Marmorsaal (c. 1903)Belvedere

The museum was located in the Belvedere Palace—initially only the Lower Belvedere but from 1918 it also extended to the Upper Belvedere.

After the Rain (1898) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

Even in these early years of the museum, the curators bought works by Gustav Klimt. "After the Rain," which Klimt had painted in 1898, was acquired by the Imperial and Royal Department for Culture and Education as early as 1900.

The Kiss (1908-1909) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

The most notable early acquisition of one of Klimt's works was undoubtedly the purchase of "The Kiss" by the Imperial and Royal Department for Culture and Education. The purchase took place in 1908, when the picture was shown for the first time at the Vienna Kunstschau exhibition.

Farmhouse in Buchberg (Upper Austrian Farmhouse) (1911) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

Similar to "The Kiss," the landscape painting "Farmhouse in Upper Austria" (1911) made it into the Modern Gallery collection immediately after its completion. The acquisition was funded by the Academic Association for Literature and Music in Vienna.

Gustav Klimt's painting "Medicine" (nach 1901) by Moriz NährAustrian National Library

In 1919, just one year after Klimt's death, the monumental painting "Medicine," one of the three faculty paintings for the University of Vienna, was acquired with the help of several generous patrons, including the Bloch-Bauer and Lederer families, as well as Sonja Knips and Hugo Koller.

Fritza Riedler (1906) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

Some of Klimt's paintings entered the Staatsgalerie (now Belvedere) in the 1930s. Among them was "Portrait of Fritza Riedler" (1906), which was purchased in 1937. Prior to its acquisition, the painting had been owned by the sister of the sitter.

Judith (1901) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

An especially large number of Klimt's paintings entered the Belvedere during the 1950s. The famous "Judith I" was acquired in 1954 from the widow of the Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, who had previously owned the painting.

Sonja Knips (1897/1898) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

Adam and Eve (1916/1917) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

In 1950, two rather important paintings came into the museum's possession. Sonja Knips sold the Belvedere her portrait, painted by the master in 1897/98, as well as the unfinished late work "Adam and Eve," which Sonja Knips had acquired in 1919.

Flowering Poppies (1907) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

Some works were acquired via an exchange rather than a purchase. As such, in 1957, the Viennese art collector Rudolf Leopold presented the Belvedere with "Poppy Meadow" by Klimt, in exchange for two paintings by Egon Schiele.

Johanna Staude (1917/1918) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

In 1963, the Belvedere had the opportunity to buy Johanna Staude's portrait, which Klimt had painted when she was 34 years old, and which had remained in her possession over the years.

Mother with Two Children (Family) (1909/1910) by Gustav KlimtBelvedere

The Belvedere's most recent additions to its Gustav Klimt collection came in 2012. During this year, the Viennese collector Peter Parzer donated numerous works of art to the museum, including two paintings by Klimt: "Sunflower" from 1907/08 and "Mother with Two Children (Family)" from 1909/10.

Credits: Story

Text: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere / Franz Smola

© Österreichische Galerie Belvedere

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