Klimt had a lavish breakfast each morning at the "Meierei," a café/restaurant in the middle of the Schönbrunn Palace park. The highlight was a large portion of whipped cream to accompany "Guglhupf," a typical Viennese pastry dish, which the master consumed with great enjoyment. Klimt's appetite so early in the morning was understandable given that by this point in the day, he had already walked a great distance across the city, from his apartment in Vienna's 7th district to his studio in the 13th district. The Schönbrunn Palace park was on his way.
Klimt usually had breakfast in the company of friends. For many of his acquaintances, this was their only opportunity to be in direct contact with the master. Klimt would then spend the rest of the day in his studio, where he did not want to be disturbed.
Klimt did not shy away from hearty, calorie-filled delicacies, which would be commonplace at the time, particularly for those employed in manual labor. He balanced this out with sporting activities such as fencing, and wrestling, so as not to gain too much weight. During his summer vacations at Attersee, he also enjoyed rowing and swimming.
When Klimt was invited to lavish social gatherings and receptions in the homes of the wealthy middle class—as was often the case— a sumptuous meal was usually the focal point of the invitation. But occasionally, the richness of the hospitality was too much even for him. This proved to be the case during an extended stay in the Moravian country home of his art-loving patrons, Otto and Eugenia Primavesi, in December, 1915.On a postcard to his partner, Emilie Flöge, Klimt reported on the menu prepared for the guests: "(…) Dreary weather today: cloudy, dark, and flat. At lunch, we had hearty boiled beef with horseradish, followed by apple strudel and cabbage roll, this evening probably pork sausages, tomorrow blood and liver sausages, etc., it's unbelievable!"
Text: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere / Franz Smola
© Österreichische Galerie Belvedere