Gustav Klimt's art expresses the apocalyptic atmosphere of Vienna's upper middle-class society around the turn of the 20th century—a society devoted to the cultivation of aesthetic awareness and the cult of pleasure.
The ecstatic joy which Klimt's and his contemporaries found—or hoped to find—in beauty was constantly overshadowed by death. And death therefore plays an important role in Klimt's art. Klimt's fame, however, rests on his reputation as one of the greatest painters and graphic artists of his times. Particularly his drawings, which have been widely admired for their artistic excellence, are dominated by the erotic portrayal of women.
Gilles Néret (1933–2005) was an art historian, journalist, writer and museum correspondent. He organized several art retrospectives in Japan and founded the SEIBU museum and the Wildenstein Gallery in Tokyo. He directed art reviews such as L'Œil and Connaissance des Arts and received the Elie Faure Prize in 1981 for his publications.
Klimt is part of the Taschen Basic Art series. Each book in this series gives a detailed chronological summary of the artist's life and work, covering the cultural and historical importance of the artist. Each book contains approximately 100 colour illustrations with explanatory captions and a concise biography of the artist.