By Leslie Camhi
Updated: February 02, 2017

“Forest Demon” (“Waldschrat”) was the nickname given to Gustav Klimt by the locals around the Attensee, the lakeside retreat near Vienna where the artist spent summer holidays, tramping through the woods loaded down with painting supplies, when he wasn’t relaxing with his companion Emilie Floge and her family. In glorious landscapes, such as "Farm Garden with Sunflowers" (pictured below), in the collection of Vienna’s Belvedere Museum, he transforms the hot-house sensuality of his better-known portraits and allegorical paintings into a vision of Nature’s mystery, cloaked in a brilliant dream of color and pattern.

Travelers to Vienna this year can explore the full range of Klimt’s achievement, as during the 150th anniversary of his birth, the city’s museums honor its native son with no less than ten exhibitions. While the Belvedere is putting its entire collection of Klimt paintings (the world’s largest) on display and the Albertina is showing Klimt’s drawings, the Leopold Museum focusses on the secretive artist’s private life, with correspondence, photographs, and a recreation of his studio.

Photos courtesy of Belvedere, Vienna.  Avenue in Schloss Kammer Park, 1910 (top); Farm Garden with Sunflowers, 1908 (bottom)