Anyone who didn’t know me in high school might not guess that I am a not-so-closeted art history freak. I took AP Art History in high school (Team APAH for life!) and another class in college before I realized that I didn’t want to spend the next four years memorizing slides. But my passion for art remains and I visit art museums in nearly every city I visit. I knew that a trip to Vienna would be a chance to learn more not only about classical music, but also to soak up the work of one of my favorite artists, Gustav Klimt.
Gustav Klimt’s art is some of the most reproduced in the world, found on coffee mugs and posters in college dorm rooms everywhere. Born into the Austrian empire, Klimt is known for his portrayal of the female form in works like The Kiss.
The MuseumsQuartier is the first place to start on your hunt for Klimt, as it’s the hub for most of the city’s museums. Among the dozens of museums are the Leopold Museum and the MUMOK. Start your Klimt journey at the Leopold Museum, where you will find Death and Life, pictured above, Attersee, Study for Judith I and others. You will also find work by Egon Schiele, a contemporary of Klimt’s.
The next stop on the tour is Belvedere Palace and their Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, two Baroque palaces transformed into a classic European art museum. You can choose tickets for Upper or Lower Belvedere or a combination pass, depending on what you’re interested in seeing. The collection here is arguably the best exhibit of Klimt’s work, as it covers his whole career and includes comparative work by his Secession contemporaries. Be sure to see Judith, Adam and Eve, and of course, The Kiss, which will take your breath away. Compare this famous painting with Egon Schiele’s Embrace.
Places to Find Klimt’s Work in Vienna
Leopold Museum at the MuseumsQuartier is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, from 10 am to 9 pm on Thursdays and closed on Tuesdays. Access the museum through the U2 MuseumsQuartier or U3 Volkstheater. Tickets cost €12 for adults.
Belvedere Palace is located at Prinz Eugen-Straße 27 and is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Take any public transportation to the Quartier Belvedere station. Tickets are €13.50 for the entire Belvedere Palace complex or €9.50 for only Upper or Lower palace access.
The Secesssion Building is at Friedrichstraße 12 near the Naschmarkt and is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Tuesday to Sunday. Guided tours run at 3 pm on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday. You can reach the museum by the U1, U2 or U4 to the Karlsplatz station. Tickets are €8.50 to see the Beethoven Frieze and contemporary exhibits.
The Albertina also has selected drawings of Klimt’s in their special exhibits. Outside of Vienna, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome and New York’s MOMA have a few of Klimt’s pieces.