Though publically known from the outset of his career for his allegorical compositions and female portraits, in the 1890s and afterwards landscape painting became an increasingly important outlet for Klimt's creativity eventually accounting for nearly a quarter of his oeuvre. This shift was in part inspired by a major exhibition of Van Gogh paintings at the Galerie Miethke in Vienna which Klimt visited and greatly admired. Seeing Van Gogh's ability to render brilliantly coloured landscapes using pure paint and few traditional techniques emboldened Klimt and he began using much thicker brushwork.
In Klimt's Bauerngarten, the close-up of a flower garden with its tight perspective and emphasis on the painted surface is an outpouring of Klimt's love of patterning and design. The riot of
colors recalls backgrounds from some of his monumental frieze work, such as The Beethoven Frieze (1902), thrown down here in exaggerated profusion. The pyramidal structure
gives form and shape to the intensity of patterning, which, like other of Klimt's landscape works, plays on the polarizing effects of a predominant oppositional red-green palette. However, Klimt places the
odd note of blue at the heart of this composition to act as a focal point within the color confusion.
In early letters to his mistress, Mizzi, Klimt outlined how his holidays with Emilie were a whirl of constant activity. An energetic sportsman, he wrote of a punishing daily routine: of early rising, painting, breakfast, swimming in the lake, painting, lunch, nap, swimming, or rowing, and then more painting after tea. He revealingly wrote, "doing nothing gets boring after a bit." It is clear that he was an utterly driven man. Obsessed by his beloved work, he took no true holidays - every day was an artistic journey of discovery. Away from the confines of the city, this powerfully built man enjoyed "shaking up the muscles" with a rigorous program of physical exercise
Bauerngarten sold for $59.3m (£48m) during a Sotheby's auction of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist works in London on March 2nd, 2017 - a record auction price for a landscape by the artist.