In Gustav Klimt’s life, it has been well documented and discussed that he was an introverted, reclusive gentleman. He only rejected society’s repressive rules and restrictive regulations in favor of his own.
Klimt held a firm distaste for the culture of the time and eventually even refused to hire out his services to any public benefactor. Furthermore, he received much ridicule, rejection, and public scrutiny for his rebellious artistic ideas during his career.
However, his work has gained popularity and has been repeatedly used for marketing and advertising since his death. Be it for tourism purposes or commercial ad campaigns, the themes of Gustav Klimt’s artwork and the painting itself have been used, borrowed, and copied countless times over.
Of all Vienna’s unique attractions, perhaps none have been more marketed and used than some Klimt famous paintings. Thousands of tourists flock to the Viennese museums to admire and appreciate Klimt’s body of work every year.
As you walk down the streets of Vienna, you will see numerous advertisements inspired by or directly related to Klimt’s work. You will also find countless tourist shops selling dozens of Klimt postcards, t-shirts, and keychains.
Indeed, Klimt’s influence on the city, he called home, cannot be denied. From the many museum exhibits showcasing his work to the many advertisers influenced by it, it is perhaps a fitting tribute that he is one of Vienna’s top tourist attractions.
Millions on the private market
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Klimt’s legacy, though, is the revenue that has been generated from his work on the private marketplace. An original Klimt piece has been known to sell for millions of dollars, making Klimt by revenue alone one of the most successful artists of all time.
In 2016, Oprah Winfrey sold the framed original of Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer for 150 million dollars. As unbelievable as this seems, this is not the first painting of Klimt’s to have been sold for over 100 million dollars.
Indeed, many of Gustav Klimt’s famous paintings have been the prize of wealthy private collectors. Such as Ronald Lauder, the son of perfume tycoon Estee Lauder, who has used the erotic themes of Klimt’s work to market and sell their products and use his painting as a symbol of their commercial success.
Selling the Kiss
In our modern culture, no other commercial entity is as savvy and adaptive as the advertisement industry. For example, when advertisers are trying to sell products relating to love, no strategy is more powerful than using the image of “The Kiss.”
Gustav Klimt’s painting “The Kiss” is one of his most celebrated works and one of the first paintings to gain acclaim showing a couple kissing. Before Klimt, culture and art held a more conservative approach, and although there are dozens of paintings of lovers embracing, very few depict them as actually kissing.
Klimt can have played a pivotal role in this change to which advertisers and marketers alike owe a debt of gratitude to Klimt. No image has been proven more potent than the kiss when it comes to selling cosmetics, fashion, and many other lifestyle products.
150th Birthday Celebration
In July of 2012, Gustav Klimt celebrated his 150th birthday. Google paid homage to the great painter by using Gustav Klimt artwork, “The Kiss,” as a doodle on their search engine home page to commemorate this monumental milestone.
Over the past 150 years, Klimt has gained worldwide recognition beyond that of just the art world, and as a result, ad campaigns have been too eager to exploit his work for their profit, especially in his home city of Vienna.
On the date marking his 150th birthday, museums in Vienna also offered their commemorations to the man by highlighting his work and promoting his exhibits. Whether this was done for the love of Klimt himself or just for profit, you will have to decide that for yourself.
In the last year, NFTs have taken the famous world by storm and are a term you have heard of in passing, although few might know. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token and is associated with the marketing of cryptocurrency.
An NFT is a one-of-a-kind currency that can take the shape of a painting, a film or tv character, or any other icon of media. This relates to Klimt, though, because now he has become an NFT, or, at least, his art has.
It has recently been announced that 10,000 of Klimt’s paintings “The Kiss” will now be available for trade on the digital currency market. On Valentine’s day 2022, The Kiss will hit stores and will officially launch Klimt into the need of the digital art space for the first time.
The Bottom Line
Even more than 100 years after Gustav Klimt’s death, his work is still being used and marketed worldwide. The liberal themes and erotic nature behind his work, which was ridiculed at the time, are now commonplace in our modern culture. This is partly thanks to Klimt’s art, which promoted liberalism and equality, which paved the way for these ideas to find themselves in modern-day mainstream media.