Gustav Klimt

This spring Ozone has the privilege of introducing our newest line of socks inspired by famed modernist Gustav Klimt. Klimt was a leader in the Vienna Secession movement that allowed for more experimental art to enter the scene. He focused on the female body in his most famous works with erotic tones and enchanting patterns. Read below to learn more about this one of a kind and rule breaking painter from the 19th century. 

Born on July 14th, 1862, in Vienna, the second of seven children, Klimt showed an early talent for painting, as did his younger brothers Ernst and Georg. Klimt grew up in a lower-middle-class family with his father working as a gold engraver and his mother being an aspiring music performer who never had much success.

Gustav Klimt

In 1876, Klimt was awarded a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. It was there that he learned the fundamentals of painting through classical training, although he would eventually rebel from this classic style. In 1877, Klimt's brother Ernst followed in his older brother's footsteps and enrolled in the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts for engraving like their father. The two brothers then met Franz von Matsch, a painter and sculptor who became close friends and who they would form the Artist Company with. The company supplied painted decorations for theatre buildings of the monarchy and by 1880 the three were already commissioned numerous times. 

Some notable works they did include a Midsummer Night’s Dream mural(1885) in Empress Elizabeth's country retreat, the Villa Hermes, and the Viennese Burgtheater (1888). For Empress Elizabeth's country retreat, Klimt and his partners were highly praised. Afterward, Klimt was commissioned to paint the Auditorium of the Old Burgtheater that took him to the peak of his fame. As a result, Klimt was awarded the Golden Cross of Honor, a distinct medal reserved for people that gave the Austrian empire something to be proud of. During this time Klimt was starting to indulge in the new style of Art Nouveau, further broadening his style and becoming more experimental.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1884-85)

Viennese Burgtheater Mural (1888)


During the 1890s the Artist Company began to fall apart. Franz Matsch's interest was flourishing into portraits, and Klimt's newly adopted style made it difficult to work together. After Klimt's father and Ernst's death in 1892, he retreated from public life and experimented while studying contemporary styles that were overlooked by the establishment including Japanese, Chinese, Ancient Egyptian, and Byzantine imagery.

In 1893, Klimt did his last public commission for the University of Vienna. The paintings Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence, were completed in the early 1900s and met with heavy criticism. The establishment did not like his radical style mixed with eroticism and denounced it. Unfortunately these paintings were destroyed during the Second World War.

By 1897, Klimt was not the only artist upset at the Viennese establishment. With forty other notable Viennese artists, they resigned from the Academy of Arts, an organization with classical style artists, and founded the Union of Austrian Painters, more commonly known as the Vienna Secession. Klimt was immediately elected president. Being founded with no clear goals or support of any particular style, the Union was made to rebel from the classicist establishment which was found as oppressive.

It was after the forming of this group that Klimt painted his works he is best known for. It is referred to as his golden phase for his use of golden leaves. In the transition, Klimt's paintings became much more sensual and erotic, mixed with overflowing patterns and bright colors. Klimt captured his vision for art with paintings Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1901), Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), and The Kiss (1907-1908). Consistently outfitted in sandals and a long robe, Klimt worked from his home. 

Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1901), Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907), and The Kiss (1907-08)

Klimt died in 1918 due to complications with the Spanish flu. His Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I sold in 2006 for 135 million dollars, which was  the highest price recorded for an art piece at that time. Klimt's work remains some of the most recognized throughout the world, his paintings are some of the most reproduced. 

Check out Ozone’s new collection inspired by his work, we hope that art enthusiasts everywhere will appreciate these socks as much as we do.