The Secession of Vienna:
Jeder Zeit Ihre Kunst - Part II

Not really a Jugendstil artist, but rather a modernist architect, Adolf Loos published articles in Ver Sacrum. The most famous one is the legendary "Ornament und Verbrechen" ("Ornament and Crime", often misquoted as "Ornament AND Crime"), in which he viciously attacked the bombastic decorations of the Ringstraßen style, but also the decorative aspects of Jugendstil.

Yet another tacky memorial, this one for the ′King of Waltz′.

His most famous creation in Vienna is the Looshaus on the Michaelerplatz by the Hofburg, which caused a serious scandal upon its opening. Later on in the development of Jugendstil, it branched off into several areas: One very floral, playful line merged with illustration and design, a craft and functionality oriented line gave rise to the Wiener Werkstätten, one plain line to Art Deco, which never really took off in Vienna as it did in the US.

By the 1920ies, Jugenstil had become a school within commercial illustration and its former representatives had developed into something new. The building of the Secession in Vienna, however, remains the city′s most famous site of this school. Its light cupola made of golden laurel leaves gives the building the feel of a mosque and inspired the Viennese to call it "Goldenes Krauthäupl" ("Golden Cabbage").

Development of Viennese Art after the Secession

There are three wise owls on the fašade of the sides and the entrance bears three medusas in archetypical Jugendstil style. Look above the medusas and you can read the motto of the Secession artists: "Jeder Zeit Ihre Kunst. Der Kunst Ihre Freiheit." ("For every Era its Art. For Art its Freedom").

This motto had been removed by the Nazis (surprise), but was replaced after the end of WWII. Parts of the entrance were designed by Georg Klimt, Gustav′s brother. The interior contains several pieces by Secession artists, but the crowds (and I do mean crowds!) come to see the "Beethoven Fries" by Gustav Klimt, which is part of the Secession′s permanent exhibition.

The frieze was originally intended to last only for a few weeks, but preserved in the end and bought by an art collector. In 1986, it was restored in its original location and is still on display. It is considered to be among the most important works by Klimt and divided into three sections: Longing for Happiness; Hostile Forces; and Ode to Joy. Since large sections of the Beethoven Frieze are spared out with black, it gives a very odd impression.

Attractions nearby the Secession

Beyond the frieze and some information on the history and significance of the Secession, there are changing exhibitions usually by contemporary artists on the ground floor. Nearby attractions include the previously mentioned Academy of Fine Arts, the Musikverein Concert Hall, the Otto Wagner Pavilions on the Karlsplatz Square and the Karlskirche.

Within walking distance lie several of Austria′s biggest art museums, from the Kunsthistorisches to the Albertina or the MuseumsQuartier. In case you are longing for more Jugendstil, you should walk up the Wienzeile to the Majolikahaus on the Naschmarkt Market by Otto Wagner. For more on the Wiener Werkstätten workshop, go to the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK) south of the Secession.

Return to "The Secession - Part I"

back to "vienna travel guide"


Vienna by District

District Overview - 1st (Innere Stadt) - 2nd (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd (Landstraße) - 4th (Wieden) - 5th (Margareten)- 6th (Mariahilf) - 7th (Neubau) - 8th (Josefstadt) - 9th (Alsergrund) - 10th (Favoriten) - 11th (Simmering) - 12th (Meidling) - 13th (Hietzing) - 14th (Penzing) - 15th (Fünfhaus) - 16th (Ottakring) - 17th (Hernals) - 18th (Währing) - 19th (Döbling) - 20th (Brigittenau) - 21st (Floridsdorf) - 22nd (Donaustadt) - 23rd (Liesing) -  Ringstraße - Surroundings

Further Reading

Jugendstil Sightseeing in Vienna

Official website of the Vienna Tourist Information

Wikipedia on the Vienna Secession

Strange, but official website of the Secession Art Museum