From Summerhouse to Villa
In 1939 the Klein family, an assimilated Jewish middle-class family, was forced to flee Austria to escape Nazi persecution. After the liberation of Austria in 1945, the villa and some of the land that had been stolen from the Klein family were restored to it by the Republic of Austria. However, the family did not return to Hietzing and so sold the villa back to the Austrian state in 1957. After many years being used as a school, the villa remained empty for a long period of time, the fact that it had once housed Gustav Klimt’s last ever studio almost forgotten.
The Klimt Villa today
The revitalisation resulted in a detailed reconstruction of Gustav Klimt’s reception room and studio space. Today these are the main features of the exhibition at the Klimt Villa. In order to help visitors understand the special history of this location and the unique house-within-a-house structure, all guests are offered a short introduction in person before being given the opportunity to explore the spaces for themselves.
The garden, which features in several paintings by Klimt, is currently undergoing partial reconstruction in order to give visitors to the Klimt Villa an impression of the sumptuous flower garden that once surrounded Gustav Klimt’s studio.
The sculpture, created by the painter and sculptor Erwin Kastner, was placed on the south side of the house in the anniversary year 2022. The sculpture shows Gustav Klimt as a sketch and casts his shadow on the facade of the Klimt Villa.
Klimt Villa Rose
Gustav Klimt was a garden lover. The heart of his garden and admired in Klimt’s paintings are Damask roses, which were planted on the property around 1900. The so-called Klimt Villa Rose was bred by a Viennese gardening expert, using the shoots that he took from two mother plants and grafted onto wild roses. 22 plants have already been exposed in the course of the partial reconstruction of the garden.
A few dozen pieces are for sale every year, and the proceeds are used to finance further reconstruction of the Klimt Garden.
The Garden Café at the Klimt Villa Garden
Bistro tables in the shade of magnificent chestnut trees in the garden of the Klimt Villa invite you to linger and enjoy coffee and cake. The Garden Café is only open on weekends when the weather is nice.
(May to October, Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
Especially in Vienna, but in fact all over the world, Klimt has come to seem ubiquitous. His art has become common property. What is forgotten is what has been lost in relation to his works and his life: stolen art, restored art, missing art, and countless stories about collectors, perpetrators and victims.
Klimt’s final studio can still be found within extensive gardens on the outskirts of Vienna. A single rosebush has survived here for all that time, nothing more. Klimt has been dead for over one hundred years. His collectors and patrons are also no longer alive. In many cases they were persecuted by the Nazis, robbed, driven into exile or murdered. Some of Klimt’s oeuvre was lost, burned or disappeared without trace. The rest no longer hangs in the salons of his collectors, but more often on the walls of museums. The everyday lives that were played out against the backdrop of his paintings are as lost to us now as the close, personal ties that once existed between owner and artwork.
The exhibition therefore asks questions about how to approach a loss that reaches far beyond the individual works of art. It also introduces a general public to some of the protagonists of both past and present day, and brings a new perspective to the lost Klimts.