1.5.6.1 Vienna Secession (1897-1905)


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QUICK LINKS:
Aureol, Auchentaller
Pallas Athene, Klimt

Dance, Moser

The Vienna Secession aka the Union of Austrian Artists, is an art movement, closely related to Art Nouveau, that was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian painters, graphic artists, sculptors and architects, including Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, Otto Wagner, and Gustav Klimt.

The Secession Building in Vienna was the movement’s physical and spiritual home and its permanent visual form.

Designed by Josef Maria Olbrich, a young architect and former student of Otto Wagner, the building, located in a culturally vibrant part of Vienna, needed to hold its own against several larger institutional structures. Its somewhat unconventional appearance led detractors to nickname it ‘Mahdi’s Tomb’ or the ‘Assyrian Convenience’. Its location next to a vegetable market also led to the nickname of ‘The Golden Cabbage’ for the lattice of leaves in the dome.

The leaves appear much like the stylized crown of foliage at the top of a tree that seems as if breaking through the roof of the building – much like the Secessionists were themselves breaking free of the mould of the display spaces that literally contained (and constrained) art in Vienna.

This is also emphasised by their journal Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring), whose title appears to the left of the entrance and references the ancient Roman rituals of the founding of new communities from old ones.

[Source: theartstory.org]

[1561-10]

Auchentaller joined the Secession at its inception, but, as one of Gustav Klimt’s supporters, broke with the group over the search for a gallery space in 1905.

This poster, from the year the Secession Building was built, demonstrates the way that Secessionists from the beginning exhibited links with foreign artists – in this case, the Art Nouveau graphics that were sweeping through Europe.

This advertising poster for hair colouring draws on French examples, particularly the techniques of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: the nearly-silhouetted figures in the background whose figures all seem to blend into each other; the flattened planes of colour with minimal shapely articulation besides their well-defined outlines; the use of three colours, specifically black, golden yellow, and red; and the curvilinear typeface at the center.

It also demonstrates the use of color lithography on a large scale, another technological innovation of the era.
[Source: theartstory.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons 
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Aureol1898LithographPoster
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Auchentaller, Josef Maria1865-1949, aged 84Austrian painterVienna Secession
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1561-11]

 97 x 64  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Though the Secessionists were known as a group that attempted to break with artistic traditions, their relationship with the past was more complex than a simple forward-looking mentality.

Klimt, along with many of his fellow painters and graphic artists, cultivated a keen understanding of the symbolic nature of mythical and allegorical figures and narratives from Greece and Rome and other ancient civilizations.

With his soft colors and uncertain boundaries between elements, Klimt begins the dissolution of the figural to abstraction that would come to full force in the years after he left the Secession.

This painting exudes thus a sensory conception of the imperial, powerful presence of the Greco-Roman goddess of wisdom, Athena, and the inability of humans to fully grasp that, rather than a crisp, detailed visual summation of her persona.
[Source: theartstory.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Pallas Athene1898Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Klimt, Gustav1862-1918, aged 55Austrian painterVienna Secession
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1561-12]

Vienna Museum, Vienna, Austria75 x 75  
Fuller was a well-known dancer at this time, best remembered for her graceful, swooping movements with billowing swathes of fabric.

Lautrec portrayed her too, although Fuller made clear that she disliked the artist.
[Source: reddit.com]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Dance, aka Loïe Fuller in the Dance ‘The Archangel’1902Ink/Watercolour/PaperAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Moser, Koloman1868-1918, aged 50Austrian painterVienna Secession
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Albertinam Museum, Vienna Austria15 x 22  

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Back to 1.5.6 Eastern Europe Index (1899-1953)

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