Gustav Klimt’s Father in Traditional Dutch Dress, 1892
Leopold Museum, Vienna
Gustav Klimt’s Father in Traditional Dutch Dress 1892
Oil on wood
(Baumgarten near Vienna/Vienna1864–1892 Vienna)
Currently on display at OG4
The history and decorative painter Ernst Klimt (1864–1892) created this costume portrait in 1892. It depicts the metal engraver Ernst Klimt the Elder (1834–1892) – father of the three artists Gustav (1862–1918), Ernst and Georg (1867–1931) – dressed up as a Dutch patrician of the 17th century. He had emigrated to Vienna from what is now the Czech Republic and had started a family with the Viennese girl Anna Rosalia Finster. Despite his limited financial means, Ernst Klimt the Elder enabled his three sons to attend the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. His second son, who was also named Ernst, and his eldest son Gustav studied with Ferdinand Laufberger (1829–1881). The painter and etcher Laufberger introduced his two gifted students to the painter and decorative artist Hans Makart (1840–1884). Subsequently, Ernst, Gustav and the painter and sculptor Franz Matsch (1861–1942) founded the “Künstler-Compagnie.” Ernst Klimt’s premature death in 1892 put an end to this successful artists’ collaboration and studio community and plunged the entire family into a severe crisis. Gustav Klimt emerged from this crisis as a fundamentally changed, modern artist.