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Vienna Secession history by Senses-ArtNouveau.com

Vienna Secession


Austrian Artistic Movement

In 1897 a group of Artists, such as Otto Wagner and his gifted students, Josef Hoffmann and Josef Olbrich, with Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser and others aspired to the renaissance of the arts and crafts and to bring more abstract and purer forms to the designs of buildings and furniture, glass and metalwork, following the concept of total work of art and to do so they tried to bring together Symbolists, Naturalists, Modernists, and Stylists.

They gave birth to another form of modernism in the visual arts and they named their own new movement: Secession (Wiener Secession). As the name indicates, this movement represented a protest, of the younger generation against the traditional art of their forebears, a "separation" from the past towards the future. The first chairman was Gustav Klimt.

To pursue their goal they created their own exhibition space: the Secession building just off Vienna's Ringstrasse and the architect would be Josef Maria Olbrich.

But the Vienna Secession promoted their design aesthetic with exhibition posters and its own journal, Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring). The journal housed reproductions, poetry illustrations, graphic art, decorative borders, object design, and cutting-edge conceptions for layout.

Starting with the first exhibition in November 1898, the Vienna Secession Building presented works of the most important artists of the time as:
Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Maria Olbrich, Max Klinger, Walter Crane, Eugene Grasset, Signac, Charles Robert Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Degas, Arnold Bocklin, Giovanni Segantini, Auguste Rodin, Edvard Munch, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Vuillard, Bonnard, Redon, Gauguin, Otto Wagner, ...

and also a good proportion of Belgian Artists as:
Fernand Khnopff, Constantin Meunier, Felicien Rops, Theo van Rysselberghe, George Minne,

In 1902, Gustav Klimt created the Beethoven Frieze as part of installation of Max Klinger's sculpture Beethoven; installation designed by Josef Hoffmann. The Beethoven Frieze was left on view another year, then dismantled and sold.

OOn 19th May, 1903 another association, the Wiener Werkstätte (German for The "Vienna Workshop") was registered in Vienna . The founders, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, both members of the Vienna Secession, wanted to provide an outlet for graduates from the Kunstgewerbeschule.

In 1905, the ongoing conflict between the naturalists, who had clung to many of the Kunstlerhaus tenets from the beginning of the Secession Movement, and the stylists finally proved irreconcilable.
At that time Klimt, Auchentaller, Boehm, Hoffmann, Moser and Roller, seceded from the Secession on the grounds that they could no longer be associated with the more realistic naturalists who refused to commit themselves to the "total work of art", a fundamental premise of the Secessionist Movement.

The "Klimt Group" held their exhibitions in 1908 in the Kunstschau, a temporary pavilion built by Josef Hoffmann, and the year represents the high-point in the decorative phase of late Art Nouveau.

Varnedoe, Kirk. Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture and Design. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1986.
Boubnova, Iaroslava et al (eds.). Vienna Secession: 1898-1998. Munich, New York: Prestel, 1998.

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