Unfinished works of Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt is one of the legendary artists of the art nouveau period. His unique style and use of colour has inspired artists around the world ever since. 

Klimt’s artistic talent was recognized when he was still very young. He won a full scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts & Crafts at the age of 14. Klimt began his career as an interior decorator and later established himself as a painter.  Behind his successful, Klimt’s life was troubled. There was a time when he was rejected by the art world. Later in life, in January of 1918, he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Klimt died weeks later of pneumonia, leaving some of his works unfinished. 

Here are some of those unfinished works. 


Ria Munk

Ria Munk was a young Jewish girl born into a rich family. On 28 December in 1911 Ria committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest. She was 24 years old.

The grief was unbearable, so her parent sought the most famous artist in Vienna to paint a portrait of their deceased daughter. Gustav Klimt painted two versions of Ria Munk’s portrait but her family rejected them both. Unfortunately, pneumonia took the artist’s life before he could finish the third version.  


The Bride - 1917-1918

The Bride was one of the paintings found in Klimt’s studio shortly after his death. Women were one of Klimt’s favorite subjects. In this painting, we can see semi-naked female figures. 

The art historian Alessandra Comini describes the woman figure on the right of this unfinished painting: "the knees were bent and the legs splayed out to expose a carefully detailed pubic area on which the artist had leisurely begun to paint an overlay 'dress' of suggestive and symbolic ornamental shapes."


Portrait of Amalie Zuckerkandl

Amalie Zuckerkandl died at the hand of the Nazi in 1942. Before her death, Klimt had the opportunity to paint her portrait but was not able to finish it. Zuckerkandl’s friend Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer owned this unfinished portrait. It was kept in his house until he was forced to flee Austria during the war. Bloch-Bauer hired the lawyer to protect his property, but in the end the lawyer kept 12 paintings, including this portrait by Klimt for himself. The Portrait of Amalie Zuckerkandl was long lost until it was sold to Vita Künstler, the art dealer. She kept the painting for the rest of her life and bequeathed it to the Austrian Gallery on her death in 2001 at the age of 101.


Johanna Staude

Compared with the other unfinished paintings of Gustav Klimt, this portrait of Johanna Staude appears to be the most complete. This painting was different from the rest of Klimt’s portraits of women. In the portrait, Johanna Staude wears with modern costume and a fashionable haircut. An incomplete area of this portrait is the mouth; yet somehow her face still catches people’s attention. 

The painting is now exhibited at the Österreichische Gallerie in Vienna, Austria along 24 other of Klimt’s works, including his most famous: "Kiss".