It is one thing to admire a work of art, quite another to immerse yourself in the surroundings that led to its creation. The Klimt Villa makes the latter possible, helping you get so close to the person and artist that was Gustav Klimt that you can almost tweak his beard.
- The actual location of Klimt’s final studio, where he worked from 1911 to 1918
- The studio and waiting room have been lovingly reconstructed, based on original photos
- Limited opening times (typically Apr-Dec, Thurs-Sun), tickets cost ca. €10 (concessions available)
The building housing the studio is not quite what you might expect. It’s a neo-baroque two-storey house with broad stone steps and decorated iron balustrades. And all in pristine, orderly condition. Not a hint of gold leaf in sight.
It was quite different when Klimt rented it for use as a studio in 1911 – just a one storey, Biedermeier cottage with a large garden full of flowers and fruit trees. The simplicity and relatively rural location (at the time!) is what attracted the artist in the first place. The ambience influenced his later works, which were often characterised by the colours and motifs he might have seen among the blooms and blossoms outside.
A few years after his death in 1918, the owners added an upstairs and redecorated. Although the exterior changed considerably, the interior layout of the lower floor was largely untouched. In 1954, the villa fell into public hands, eventually serving as a school building.
By the 1990s, the authorities were ready to sell off the location for development, declaring that the house was not the one that housed Klimt’s studio. It would take some ten years to correct the error and we have the efforts of a private initiative to thank for ensuring the house remains preserved, state-owned and accessible to the public.
Inside is a mix of exhibition and reconstructions. English language information displays, reproductions of his works, Klimt’s correspondence, and replicas offer insight into his life, art, clients and models.
Perhaps the most impressive area is the main studio and reception room, both reconstructed to look exactly like the original rooms did, complete with discarded artist’s smock, splattered palette etc. Both the rooms and their contents exactly match reference photos of Klimt’s occupancy, right down to the last dot of paint.
You can imagine yourself as the artist, looking for inspiration through the huge garden windows of the studio. Or stand in the reception room, with its oriental theme, and imagine receiving such guests as Arthur Schnitzler or Egon Schiele.
Much of the plants, colour and life that so characterized Klimt’s garden (and influenced his work) has gone, but you can still find, for example, old rose bushes once touched by the same hand that painted The Kiss.
The Klimt Villa is not open all year or all week. Typically, it opens April 1st to December 31st, Thursday to Sunday, though it opened from March 1st in 2018. “Visiting hours” are 10am to 6pm.
An entrance ticket cost €10 for adults, with concessions, at the time of writing. Check the website for up-to-date details on prices and opening hours, though.
How to find the Klimt Villa
The villa is a short 5-6 min walk from the Unter St. Veit subway station on the U4 line. Tram line 10 and bus line 54b also run nearby (get off at the Verbindungsbahn stop and it’s a 2-3 min walk).
Address: Feldmühlgasse 11, 1130 Vienna (website)
The below map covers all major Klimt-related sites in Vienna: