Maximilian Lenz was an Austrian painter, graphic artist and sculptor. During his career's most important period he was a Symbolist, but later his work became increasingly naturalistic.
In the early 1890s Lenz worked as a designer of banknotes in Buenos Aires. In 1897, after returning home, he became one of the founding members of the Secession in Vienna, and participated several times in its exhibitions. His One World draws on the time's prevailing currents, including dreamlike and fantastic imagery painted in intense colour. It was shown at the Fourth Exhibition of the Vienna Secession in spring 1899, and received critical praise for its "graceful charm and dreamy yet sparkling beauty" and its mood of "pure grace and musical euphony". The famous Secession's periodical Ver Sacrum featured the work in the same year.
This painting was influenced by the dancer Isadora Duncan's 1904 stay in Vienna, sharing her symbolic themes of cyclic renewal and rebirth and featuring mediaeval costume. These ideas and a connection with dance are also prominent within Klimt's work, and the Symbolist movement as a whole.