Nine Notable Gustavs Throughout History

Gustav Klimt

Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast of the United States today, and while the storm was thankfully not as destructive as once feared, it did make me think about the name Gustav, and the notable men named Gustav (or variations thereof). This is a quickie list; I have more in-depth lists on the way.

  1. Gustav Holst. British composer, 1874-1934. Best known for his orchestral suite The Planets.
  2. Gustav Mahler. Another composer, this time from Austria, Mahler (1860-1911) is often considered the last of the great Romantic composers.
  3. Gustav Klimt. Mahler's contemporary in Austria, this artist (1862-1918) is known for his erotically-charged paintings, many of which used golf leaf prominently.
  4. Gustav Vigeland. Though the name is not well-known outside of Norway, this sculptor (1869-1943) is one of that nation's most beloved sons, and Frogner Park in Oslo, which showcases over 200 of his provocative sculptures of the human nude, remains one of the capital's biggest attractions.
  5. Gustav I. From this list so far, you'd think the name "Gustav" came into vogue only in 1860s Europe. And perhaps it did. But Gustav I, King of Sweden, lived from 1496 to 1560, and was such an influential king that seven subsequent Swedish kings have had the name "Gustav" or "Gustaf" in their official names, including their reigning monarch, Carl XVI Gustav.
  6. Gustave Flaubert. Leave it to the French to throw an "e" at the end, but we'll forgive them. Flaubert (1821-1880), as most high school students know, was an author whose most cherished novel, Madame Bovary, has been studied by millions.
  7. Gustave Eiffel. Born Alexandre Gustavo Eiffel, the French architect (1832-1923) is mostly known for just two works, but what works! His eponymous tower in Paris, one of the best-known structures in the world, and his armature for the Statue of Liberty, equally famous.
  8. Gustave Doré. One more Gustav with an "e" and we're done. This illustrator (1832-1883; looks like "Gustave" was a popular baby name in France during the 1820s-30s) was and is still one of the most influential in history.
  9. Gustavo Santaolalla. The rest of the world might be through with their Gustavs, Gustafs and Gustaves, but in the Hispanic world, the name "Gustavo" lives on. And so we have this Argentinean musician/composer, born in 1951, who won the Oscar back-to-back for his beautiful scores for Brokeback Mountain and Babel.