These photographs, of Klimt and his companion, the fashion designer Emilie Floge, were recently acquired by the museum. "They were taken when they were summering on the Attersee," Ms. Price said, referring to the Salzkammergut region of Austria where Klimt spent summers and painted many of his most famous landscapes.
Because he was known for having a serious sweet tooth, the museum's Cafe Sabarsky is producing a special Klimt cake (chocolate and hazelnut). And the museum shop is selling copies of gold and silver cufflinks that Josef Hoffmann, the Austrian architect and designer, designed for Klimt.
FOR years, Vienna has lingered in the fading glory of the fin-de-siecle era, understandably satisfied with the grandeur of its Hapsburg-era architecture and parks. Now a new wind is blowing through this imperial city, with the opening of dazzling hotels, new and renovated museums and a reinvention of the gasthaus, that ubiquitous pub where Viennese artists and philosophers, workers and shopkeepers linger over schnitzel and beer well into the night. This year, the city celebrates the 150th birthday of its most famous artistic export, Gustav Klimt, whose gold-toned paintings will be on display at 10 of the city's museums.
Klimt was born into humble circumstances in 1862, but his gift for drawing propelled him into art school and under the wing of Hans Makart, an immensely successful academic history painter. Klimt worked first on Makart's commissions; by the early 1880s he was receiving his own and increasing acclaim. But by the mid-1880s, his allegorical figures sometimes looked like contemporary women and their gold-patterned gowns presaged Art Nouveau.
Among the major European painters of the period between 1880 and 1918, Gustav Klimt is both the best known and the least known. In one sense, there is no escaping him. Every day, in just about every big city in the developed world, Klimt's portraits of beautiful and unmistakably Viennese young women reign serenely and within reach. Reproductions, posters, albums, postcards, notecards - all are ubiquitous.
The incident tells you a lot about Klimt. For all the many scandals that marked his career, it wasn't his essentially naturalistic style that so outraged his contemporaries, but his subject matter. Though a notorious womaniser, in his art he treated women not only as objects of male desire but as sexual beings fully capable of expressing desire themselves. For thinking men and women in Freud's Vienna, this was the only topic in town.
In his great last period, Klimt's surfaces take over, producing the now-emblematic shiny rectangles interwoven into glittering fabrics of jewelled beauty. His Portrait of Eugenia Primavesi (1913-14) is an interesting variant, interpolating floral motifs and more naturalistic colours, and instead of a decapitated head or a gold tapestry, we get a charming small bird cocking its eye at us. This links smoothly to a roomful of attractive landscapes, which are too often overlooked.
Klimt was a striking portrait painter, swift to achieve a likeness, accurate to the point of genius. He was also, it transpired, a remarkable decorative designer. His paintings are very beautiful, obviously beautiful - and some, unsurprisingly, have been owned by Estee Lauder and Barbra Streisand. There is a popular appeal here - an appeal it would be snobbish and foolish to resist.
Klimt belongs to that brilliant assembly of artists and scientists - Richard Strauss, Hofmannsthal, Gustav Mahler, Schnitzler, Musil and Freud - which flourished during the closing years of the Habsburg monarchy. As a founding member of the Viennese Secession, he came to prominence at an early stage. Public curiosity was immediately piqued by his imaginative adventures in allegory. He was still in his 20s when he painted his Mermaids, an appealing fantasy of dark, sinuous creatures weaving their way through moving, sparkling water.
In 1897 Klimt was one of a group of artists wanting to break free of the stuffy, constricted Old Vienna that had formed them. They established "the Secession" (stylistically allied with art nouveau). Soon everything from fashions to furniture changed as the New Vienna took shape. Klimt was the first president of the Secession and led the way sartorially too; he favoured long, voluminous indigo smocks with embroidered white epaulets.
Klimt, son of a lower-class gold-engraver, went to art school, where he was hailed a prodigy. He quickly became an accomplished technician of paint and pencil. Indeed, he became a kind of conundrum - a happy rebel not entirely at odds with the enlightened views of late-19th-century Austria. Some might refer to this symbiotic relationship as co-option.