“Mother and Child” (1905) by Gustav Klimt

This workshop initiates children to Art Nouveau painting and the works of the famous Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt.

Following the footsteps of Klimt, children will seek to produce a work of art where decorative elements and the subject of the painting come together in an attempt at making a “Gesamtkunstwerk” or a “total work of art”,

In addition to painting, children will use collage to produce their very own beautiful artwork.



A few words on Gustav Klimt

Gustav KlimtGustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, the second of seven children His father, formerly from Bohemia, was a gold engraver. From an early age, Gustav Klimt exhibited artistic talent in drafting, painting and crafts. However, he lived in poverty for most of his childhood, as work was scarce and the economy difficult for immigrants.

In 1862, he took  the entrance examination for the Kunstgewerbeschule, the Viennese School of Arts and Crafts, and he passed with distinction. Thus, he began his formal training at a time known as the “Ringstrasse Era”. During that time, the city was undergoing massive change. The center was constructed as one giant ring. It was also a time where wealthy merchants patronized  the arts massively. They taste, however, remained very classical.

“The Kiss” (1907/08) by Gustav Klimt

By 1880, Klimt, his brother and a friend worked as team, the “Company of Artists”. So, Klimt began his professional career painting interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings on the Ringstraße. In 1888, he was awarded the Golden order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria for his contributions to art. He also became an honorary member of the University of Munich and the University of Vienna.

In 1897, Klimt became one of the founding members and president of the “Wiener Sezession” (Vienna Secession). He remained in the group until 1908. Their goals were to provide exhibitions for unconventional young artists, to bring the best foreign artists works to Vienna, and to publish its own magazine to showcase members’ work. They did not promote a specific kind of work, so Naturalists, Realists and Symbolists all coexisted.

Although, his fame first came from his conventional academic paintings. He  abandoned both the realism, and the approach to historical subject matter, that were characteristic of the 19th century.

“The Tree Of Life” (1909) by Gustav Klimt

Thus, he became one of the most influential exponents of Art Nouveau, the movement which spread throughout Europe in the late 19th century.  It was a reaction to the academic art of the 19th century. Art Nouveau artists, designers and craftsmen were inspired by natural forms and structures, mainly curved lines found in biological shapes, such as plants and flowers.

Art Nouveau is considered a “total” art style. It influenced architecture, graphic art, interior design, and most of the decorative arts (jewelery, furniture, textiles lighting, as well as the fine arts, etc.).

It is important to note that Klimt strongly believed that there was little distinction to be made between fine and decorative art. He had the ambition to create a Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), a union of the visual arts that might be created through ornament. This distinguishes him from other contemporary artists who were deeply opposed to decoration.

Practical information

Date: Saturday 6 April

Time: 14:00 to 16:30

Ages: This workshop is recommended for children from 6 to 13 years old.

Location: Atelier du Square, rue François Bonivard 4, 1201 Geneva. Click here to see map.

Fee: CHF 55.- per child, materials and snack included, for the whole week.

Enrollment : Please download the enrolment sheet here. Complete it and scan or take a picture of it and return to eurydice@arts-expression.ch. Payments are due on signature of the enrollment sheet. E-banking details are at the bottom of the enrollment sheet. Thank you.

Information : Eurydice Labaki, eurydice@arts-expression.ch, +41 (0) 78 696 12 45