As a central figure of the 19th-century Vienna Secessionist movement, Gustav Klimt embraced an artistic style that both expressed his inherent skill as an artist and yet toyed with abstract forms. Klimt emerged from his study at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts in the 1880s, a time when both art and design were at the cusp of modernism. Klimt embraced this dynamic atmosphere and sought to explore the bounds of color, composition, and abstraction though his paintings. 

It was this energy that yielded some of his most iconic compositions, including The Kiss (1907-1908), which simultaneously looks to history, in its emulation of a glowing Byzantine mosaic, and to the future, as the fractured forms and flattened composition in essence foreshadowed the modernism of the subsequent decades. Klimt’s paintings, particularly examples from his most iconic "Golden Phase", come to life in The Complete Paintings of Gustav Klimt.