Klimt Villa, Vienna Austria

Klimt Villa Vienna: Gustav Klimt’s Studio Reviewed

Gustav Klimt art is everywhere in Vienna. But only one of his studios has survived as such. In fact, it’s the closest you can get to the Art Nouveau painter’s working environment. Following a stroll through nearby Schönbrunn Palace I once visited the Klimt Villa in the 13th district of Hietzing. It’s the result of a tenacious attempt to restore authenticity in a place that has changed rapidly within a few decades. Here is what to expect:

What To See At Klimt Villa

Klimt Villa Vienna: upper floorUnter St. Veit is tranquil and suburban, just the opposite of Klimt’s previous studio places. At a stone’s throw from the tramway station the white neo baroque villa sits in the middle of vast park grounds. Definitely, when Klimt used his studio there between 1911 until his death in 1918 the house and garden looked different: During Fin-de-Siecle Vienna, you would find a laid back single-level cottage boasting a wild romantic garden packed with fruit trees, shrubs, flowers, song birds and bumble bees. So, what’s for sure: Klimt did not live in the luxurious villa you see. Although the name Klimt Villa is a little misleading that’s the building local name.

Klimt Villa Vienna: Gustav Klimt's studioInside, Klimt’s original cottage area on the ground floor was painstakingly restored to reflect his work place. As you enter, Klimt’s studio itself is flooded with light from a large rectangular window leading into the vast back garden. During his years at Feldmühlgasse, Klimt supposedly produced 12 paintings and hundreds of drawings in this studio. The easels show replicas of The Bride And Lady with a Fan which Klimt painted there. A couple of garments and drawings spread on the striped mattress.

Klimt’s Universe Replicated

Klimt Villa Vienna: drawing of a womanCertainly, the Klimt Villa isn’t about displaying originals. Most of the furniture there replicates the originals, based on photographs. Most Gustav Klimt artwork there consists of replicas. The Klimt sketches and drawings that cover halls and staircases are original, though. He drew hundreds of them in his cottage, such as this portrait of a woman sitting in an armchair.

All in all, the devotion to reanimate the artist’s universe dwarfs the shortcomings in authenticity. The Klimt Society and the Trust of Artistic and Healing Education used Klimt’s only surviving studio to unfold what inspired Austria’s greatest painter: foreign art, women, nature’s dynamics, orchards, allegories and ornaments. In fact, Klimt’s intimate patch in Hietzing beautifully complements the big museum hum drum.

Japanese And Art Nouveau

Klimt Villa: Josef Hoffmann dining areaKlimt loved East Asian art. The first exhibition room shows Japanese wood cuts amidst a slick Art Nouveau dinner table and chairs by Josef Hoffmann and a huge Jugendstil ornament rug. East Asian ornaments, colours, masks and above all female nudes fascinated and inspired Klimt.

Many of his explicit female portraits were inspired by erotic Japanese prints. (Focusing on contemporary art outside Europe was part of the Secessionists’ quest of redefining art.) Remember Klimt’s paintings ‘The Kiss’, ‘Adele Bloch Bauer I’ or the ‘Tree of Life’ and East Asian art isn’t far off Klimt’s oeuvre.

Klimt Villa: first floor main roomOn the first floor and outside the villa boasts that romantic 1923 Viennese ‘Rosenkavalier’-style that the subsequent tenants chose: Most of all, the parquet floors, curved wooden railings and lamps do provide that Twenties atmosphere.

The upper rooms display replicas of some of Klimt’s most famous paintings, such as Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Adele Bloch-Bauer II and Sunflowers. Apart from a piano used for regular concerts the first floor focuses on the space and paintings.

Klimt’s Garden

Klimt Villa: Orchard with Roses, 1912Out in the garden I’m taken by the grand staircase and delicate cast iron railings. When restoring the building the Federal Heritage Authority (Bundesdenkmalamt) decided against slashing the almost 100-year old villa to peel out Klimt’s original cottage. Fair enough. Though it should be quite easy to restore the original cottage garden.

Klimt’s painting Orchard with Roses was created during his time at Feldmühlgasse in 1912 (photo). However, the actual garden now looks very different.

Since Klimt loved cats and had loads of them in his cottage it was an amazing coincidence when probably one of their successors crossed my path in the garden!

Practical Info

Klimt villa: garden with catOpening Hours: 8th January to 31st December, Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Tickets: EUR 10;

How To Get There: The easiest way to reach Klimt Villa is either by tramway 58 from Westbahnhof to Verbindungsbahn or by metro U4 to Unter St. Veit (400m walk).

Where to See Original Klimt Paintings: Vienna 1900 exhibition at Museumsquartier (Leopold Museum); world’s largest Klimt collection at Belvedere Palace; Wiener Werkstätte exhibition at Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art; Beethoven Frieze at Vienna Secession;

find out more about my Art Nouveau Walk – Map and Route Of Jugendstil Architecture in Wien
go to Otto Wagner in Vienna – Modernism and Art Nouveau
visit Egon Schiele Museum – The Leopold Collection

find the best Vienna Walking Tours – Places To Visit In Vienna On Foot
need help? go to Vienna Travel Planning – Trip Planning and Travel Consulting by Vienna Unwrapped

back to Vienna Sightseeing Top 10, And Four Extra Tips
visit What To Do In Vienna
back to Vienna Unwrapped homepage


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