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The Vienna Secession (German: Wiener Secession; also known as the Union of Austrian Artists, or Vereinigung Bildender Künstler Österreichs) was an art movement formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. This movement included painters, sculptors, and architects. The first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt, and Rudolf von Alt was made honorary president. Its official magazine was called Ver Sacrum which featured highly decorative works representative of the period.

Vienna Secession
Secession 2016, Vienna.jpg
Gustav Klimt - Beethovenfries, "Die Künste", "Paradieschor" und "Umarmung" (Tafel 8, rechte Langwand) - 5987-8 - Österreichische Galerie Belvedere.jpg
Stoclet Palace Hoffmann Brussels 1911.jpg
Top: Secession Building in Vienna designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich (1897-8); Center: Excerpts of the Beethoven Frieze by Gustave Klimt (1902); Bottom: Palais Stoclet, Brussels, by Josef Hoffmann (1905-1911)
Years active1897-1914

The most famous architectural work is the Secession Building designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich as a venue for expositions of the movement. Several prominent members, including Klimt, Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffmann quit the Secession in 1905, but it continued to function, and still functions today, from its headquarters in the Secession Building.

Contents

HistoryEdit

FoundingEdit

The Vienna Secession was founded on 3 April 1897 by artist Gustav Klimt, designer Koloman Moser, architects Josef Hoffmann and Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Wilhelm Bernatzik and others. The architect Otto Wagner joined the group shortly after it was founded. The goals stated at the founding included establishing contact and an exchange of ideas without artists outside Austria, disputing artistic nationalism, renewing the decorative arts; creating a "total art", that unified painting, architecture, and the decorative arts; and, in particular, opposing the domination of the official Vienna Academy of the Arts, the Vienna Künstlerhaus, and official art salons, with its traditional orientation toward Historicism.

The movement took its name from Munich Secession movement that was founded in 1892. The goals of the new movement in Vienna were expressed by the literary critic Hermann Bahr in the first issue of the new journal begun by the group, called called Ver Sacrum ("Sacred Spring"). Bahr wrote, "Our art is not a combat of modern artists against those of the past, but the promotion of the arts against the peddlers who pose as artists and who have a commercial interest in not letting art bloom. The choice between commerce and art is the issue at stake in our Secession. It is not a debate over aesthetics, but a confrontation between two different spiritual states." [1]

At the beginning, the Secession had fifty members, and at its first elected the painter Gustav Klimt as its president. It included two painters, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele, who were close to Klimt. Other founding or early members included the already well-known architect Josef Hoffmann, the designer Koloman Moser, the designer and architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, and the painters Max Kurzweil, and Alphonse Mucha, a Czech artist who resided in Paris and was already famous for his Art Nouveau posters, who became a corresponding member. [1] The established painter Rudolf von Alt, eighty-five years old, was chosen as the Honorary President of the group, and he led a delegation which an invitation to the Emperor Franz-Joseph to attend the first Exposition. [1]

The first architectural project of the Secession was the creation of an exhibit space which would introduce international artists and art movements to Vienna. The architect was Joseph Maria Olbrich, a student of Otto Wagner; and his domed gallery building, with a sculptural frieze over the entrance, in the center of Vienna, became the symbol of the movement. It was the first dedicated gallery of contemporary art in the city.[2] This helped make the French Impressionists and others familiar to the Viennese public.

The 14th Secession exhibition in 1902, designed by Josef Hoffmann and dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, was especially famous. A statue of Beethoven by Max Klinger stood at the center, with Klimt's Beethoven frieze mounted around it. The Klimt frieze has been restored and can be seen in the gallery today.

Split within the SecessionEdit

In 1903, Hoffmann and Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte as a fine-arts society with the goal of reforming the applied arts (arts and crafts).

An important division soon emerged inside the Secession between those who wished to give precedence to the painters and the traditional fine arts, and others, including, Klimt, Hoffman, Wagner, Koloman Moser and others who favored equal treatment for the decorative arts. This dispute came to a head in 1905 when a prominent painter in the group, Carl Mohl, proposed that the Secession purchase the Gallery Miethke, as an outlet for its work. This was supported by Klimt, Otto Wagner, Hoffman, Koloman Moser, Auchentaler, and others. The issue was put to a vote by the members, and Klimt and his supporters lost by a single vote. On June 14, 1905, Klimt. Hoffman, Moser and a group of other artists resigned from the Secession. [2]

Later yearsEdit

The Secession continued to function after the departure of Klimt, Hoffmann, Wagner and their supporters, giving regular exhibitions in the Secession building, but they lacked the originality and excitement of the earlier period. The designer Peter Behrens became a member of the Secession in 1938. During the regime of the Hitler and the Nazis the Secession building was destroyed as a symbol of decadent art, but was faithfully reconstructed following the War. The Secession continues to function today, holding regular exhibitions in the Secession Hall.

Genres of ArtEdit

Painting and Graphic ArtsEdit

ArchitectureEdit

Along with painters and sculptors, several prominent architects were associated the Vienna Secession, most notably Joseph Maria Olbrich, Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffmann. In 1897-98 Olbrich designed the Secession Building to display the art of Klimt and the members of the group, and also by foreign artists, including Max Klinger, Eugène Grasset, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Arnold Bocklin. Josef Hoffmann became the principal designer of exhibitions at the Secession House. The dome and stylized facade became a symbol of the movement.

A group of artists including Koloman Moser, Othmar Schimkowitz, Jože Plečnik, and others, under the direction of architect Otto Wagner designed the decoration of three apartment buildings, the Complex at Linke Wienzeile [de] in 1898-1899. The building at Linke Wienzeile 40 is known as Majolikahaus or Maiolica House. The facade is entirely covered with maiolica, or colorful ceramic tiles in floral designs. This was the most Art Nouveau of all the buildings designed by Wagner.[3] The other building, Linke Wienzeile 38, is known as House with medallions because of its decor of gilded stucco medallions by Wagner's student and frequent collaborator, Koloman Moser. The most ornate earlier decoration was removed but later restored.

During this period, Otto Wagner also built extraordinarily stylized stations for the new Vienna urban transport system, the Stadtbahn, which also became the symbols of the Secession style. The most famous of these is the Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station in the center of Vienna, [4] Joseph Maria Olbrich was his collaborator for this project. The style of these buildings marked a transition toward more geometric forms, and the beginnings of modernism.[5]

Wagner's later buildings built after 1899, including the Church of St. Leopold (1902-1907) and especially the Austrian Postal Savings Bank (1903-1906, extended at 1910-12), had straight lines and geometric forms, a striking use of new materials, such reinforced concrete and aluminum, and a minimum of decoration on the facade or inside.[6]

The work of Josef Hoffmann also showed a gradual transition away from floral designs and curving lines. His best-known building, the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, had a tower of stacked cubic forms, minimum ornament on the facade, and an interior of right angles and geometric designs. The only Art Nouveau elements were the murals by Gustav Klimt. The Palais Stoclet best illustrated Hoffmann's transition from Art Nouveau toward modernism. [7]

FurnitureEdit

Secession architects often designed furniture to accompany their architectural projects, along with carpets, lamps, wallpaper, and even bathroom fixtures and even towels. The furniture presented by the Secession at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition was particularly praised, and won international attention for its creators, including Else Unger and Emilio Zago. [8]

Later in the movement, in 1902, the architect Otto Wagner designed chairs using modern materials, including aluminum, combined with wood, to match the architecture of his Austrian Postal Savings Bank building. in 1905 Josef Hoffmann produced an adjustable-backed chair which reflected the more geometric forms of the late Secession.

CommemorationEdit

The Secession movement was selected as the theme for a commemorative coin: the 100 euro Secession commemorative coin minted on 10 November 2004.

On the obverse side there is a view of the Secession exhibition hall in Vienna. The reverse side features a small portion of the Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt. The extract from the painting features three figures: a knight in armor representing Armed Strength, one woman in the background symbolizing Ambition and holding up a wreath of victory, and a second woman representing Sympathy with lowered head and clasped hands.

On the obverse side of the Austrian € 0,50 or 50 euro-cent coin, the Vienna Secession Building figures within a circle, symbolising the birth of art nouveau and a new age in the country.

Other Secession artistsEdit

GalleryEdit

Exhibitions (sample)Edit

Notes and CitationsEdit

  1. ^ a b c Fahr-Becker, L'Art Nouveau, pp. 335-340
  2. ^ a b "The Vienna Secession Movement". The Art Story. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Sarnitz (2018) pages 46-48
  4. ^ Sarnitz, August, Otto Wagner (2016), pp. 33-35
  5. ^ Nikolaus Pevsner, Pioneers of Modern Design, Penguin Books, 1960
  6. ^ Sarnitz 2018, p. 57-71.
  7. ^ Sarnitz & Hoffmann 2018, p. 57-71.
  8. ^ Fahr-Becker, Gabriele, L'Art Nouveau p. 344

BibliographyEdit

  • Arnanson, Harvard H. "History of Modern Art". Ed. Daniel Wheeler. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc, 1986. ISBN 978-0-13-390360-7.
  • Borsi, Franco, and Ezio Godoli. "Vienna 1900 Architecture and Design". New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 1986. ISBN 978-0-8478-0616-4
  • "Architecture in Austria in the 20th and 21st Centuries". Ed. Gudrun Hausegger. Basel, SW: Birkhauser, 2006. ISBN 978-3-7643-7694-9
  • Fahr-Becker, Gabriele (2015). L'Art Nouveau (in French). H.F. Ullmann. ISBN 978-3-8480-0857-5.
  • O'Connor, Anne-Marie (2012). The Lady in Gold, The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, ISBN 0-307-26564-1.
  • Kathrin Romberg (ed.): Maurizio Cattelan. Text by Francesco Bonami, Wiener Secession, Wien. ISBN 3-900803-87-0
  • Schorske, Carl E. "Gustav Klimt: Painting and the Crisis of the Liberal Ego" in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. Vintage Books, 1981. ISBN 978-0-394-74478-0
  • Sarnitz, August (2018). Otto Wagner (in French). Cologne: Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8365-6432-8.
  • Sekler, Eduard F. "Josef Hoffmann The Architectural Work". Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1985. ISBN 978-0-691-06572-4
  • Topp, Leslie. "Architecture and truth in fin-de-siecle vienna". Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2004. ISBN 978-0-521-82275-6

External linksEdit