Trivium Art HistoryGustav Klimt

The Daily Routine

by Gustav Klimt, 1900

Litzlberg on the Attersee, Gustav Klimt

"You would like to know a kind of timetable - the daily routine - well this is very simple and fairly regular. In the early morning I get up, usually at 6 'o clock - sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. If the weather is good I go into the nearby wood - there I am painting a small beech forest (in the sun) with a few conifers mixed in. This takes until 8 'o clock. Then I have breakfast and after that a swim in the lake, taken with all due caution. Then I paint again for a while: if the sun is shining a picture of the lake, if it's overcast then a landscape from the window of my room. Sometimes I miss out the morning's painting session and instead study my Japanese books in the open. Then it's midday. After lunch I have a short nap or read until afternoon tea. Before or after tea I go for a second swim in the lake - not always but usually. After tea it's back to painting - a large poplar at dusk with a gathering storm. From time to time instead of this evening painting session I go bowling in one of the neighbouring villages, but not very often. Dusk falls - supper - then early to bed and early to rise the next morning. Occasionally this daily routine is interspersed with a bit of rowing to give my muscles a bit of a shake. In this way, day after day, two weeks have passed by and the lesser half of the holiday is over. One is then pleased to return to Vienna. [...] The weather is very changeable here - not at all hot and often interspersed with rain. I am prepared for all eventualities with my work which is indeed very agreeable."


"On my first days here I did not start work immediately but, as planned, I took it easy for a few days - flicked through books, studied Japanese art a little. In the early morning, during the day and in the evening I looked for motifs to paint in my landscapes with my 'viewfinder', which is a hole cut into a piece of cardboard, and found much or - if you will - nothing.
Today I want to start working again in earnest - I'm looking forward to it because doing nothing does become rather boring after a while. Although even when I am being idle I have plenty of food for thought both early and late - thoughts both about and not about art. True relaxation, which would do me the world of good, does not exist for me."

— Gustav Klimt from Attersee to his lover Marie (Mizzi) Zimmermann

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Gustav Klimt —
Love of country and love of women