Wiener Secession (1897)


The Vienna Secession was founded on 3 April 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.

Info source: en.wikipedia.org

The Vienna Secession was formed by artists Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Wilhelm Bernatzik and others. This movement 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.

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.

Info source: www.senses-artnouveau.com

Poster for the First Secession exhibition, G. Klimt
Poster for the First Secession exhibition, G. Klimt

Image source: www.theviennasecession.com

What is the aim of Wiener Secession?

The Secession took a stand against the standardization of form and industrialized manufacturing, and may be viewed as part of the fight against mass production and its perceived threat to human individuality.

Typical of the movement is an ornamental, linear graphic style exemplified by the curving lines and floral motif of Peter Behrens’ woodcut The Kiss.

The Kiss, P. Behrens
The Kiss, 1898, P. Behrens

Image source: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

In France and Belgium the Secession was called Art Nouveau, mainly understood as a reaction against impressionism. In Italy, the Liberty style emerged at the 1902 Turin Exhibition, in England a new style grew out of the Arts and Crafts movement inspired by William Morris, and in Germany, the Secession was called Jugendstil, named after the magazine Der Jugend, was centered in Munich, Berlin, and Darmstadt.

The group earned considerable credit for its exhibition policy, which made the French Impressionists somewhat familiar to the Viennese public. 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).

Unlike other movements, there is not one style that unites the work of all artists who were part of the Vienna Secession.

To pursue their goal they created their own exhibition space: the Secession building. The Secession Building designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich became known as the movement’s “temple”. Above its entrance was placed the phrase “Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit.” (“To every age its art. To every art its freedom.”).

Secession Building
The Secession Building, 1897-1898, J. M. Olbrich

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Within the Secession movement were painters, sculptors, and even architects, who turned away from official art. They sought an integrated conception of art and attempted to create a synthesis of all the arts. Applied art was particularly influenced by the art of the Secession.

Info source: www.art-directory.info

For more references, please also visit: www.jbdesign.it/idesignpro