Artist Study: Gustave Klimt

klimtThis summer my children fell in love with the movie “Woman In Gold”. It is the true story of Maria Altmann’s quest to recover a  Klimt painting taken from her family during the holocaust. The movie is truly excellent. I would not recommend it for young children. Part of the movie is set in Vienna during World War II. There are a few vivid scenes of the atrocities that occurred to the Jewish population in Austria at the hands of the Nazis.

woman-in-goldThe movie completely triggered the kid’s interest in Gustave Klimt and his paintings. We dove right in the Art Nouveau movement and Gustave Klimt.  In the process I discovered a wonderful kid’s art blog “Art Smarts 4 Kids.” I loved this sight because it was geared towards older kids.  The author’s information about Klimt, art nouveau, the Vienna Succession movement, and other artists that were  part of the Art Nouveau style pretty much made the information side of my unit. For the project we decided to make our own “Woman in Gold Painting.” Our paintings did not feature Adele Bloch-Bauer. We had a little help from the J Crew catalogue that I am currently salivating over.

dsc_2291The kids cut out faces and arms for the Klimt inspired portraits. Then they used Mod Podge to affix it to their canvases.

dsc_2274-2 dsc_2276You would be amazed how many different shades of gold there are. I gave the kids metallic acrylic paints,  gold leaf, and some gold sequins to create their masterpieces.

dsc_2307We were pleased with their finished results.


dsc_2298We finished our portraits by writing a brief paragraph about why our painting was in the essence of Klimt. I used the sentence “My painting is in the essence of Gustave Klimt” as a writing starter. My daughter wrote:

“My painting is in the essence of Gustave Klimt. I wanted to use a lot of curved lines and geometric shapes like Klimt. I tried to use a lot of rich colors. I also added a realistic style to the women’s face. Klimt used many patterns with texture which I tried to incorporate in my painting. Some of the similarities between our paintings are gold leaf, ornate details, and deep hues. I tried to incorporate abstract patterns in my gown. One of my favorite things about Klimt is how he uses symbolism and symbolic tones in his paintings.”