Secession

The Vienna Secession was the name given to the group of artists, architects and designers that broke away from the main establishment of Viennese artists to form their own group. Formed in 1897, its radical period was brief yet its impact on the cultural life of Vienna and beyond was immense and enduring.

This group aimed to create new, progressive art, to bring contemporary international art to Viennese audiences and to provide a forum for the discussion and distribution of new ideas about art and culture.

The Secessionists – among them Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Alfred Roller – were united by a shared desire to integrate art into all aspects of life. They aimed to bring purer forms to art and design and to make a separation from the historical styles of the past. They viewed all forms of art and craft as having equal status and aspired to the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) that encompassed all aspects of the visual environment.

The Vienna Secession was not characterised by one single style but was linked closely with Jugendstil – literally 'youth style', the German-speaking world's adaptation of Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau was an international art movement that was characterised by its use of flowing curved lines and plant forms. Viennese Jugendstil evolved over time to incorporate greater emphasis on simplified forms and geometric motifs.

Exhibition highlights

ColApImg_EXHI013493
Egon SCHIELE
Austria 1890–1918
Self-portrait with hands on chest 1910
charcoal, watercolour and gouache
44.8 x 31.2 cm
Kunsthaus Zug, Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI012197
Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Fritza Riedler 1906
oil on canvas
152.0 x 134.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI013492
Egon SCHIELE
Austria-Hungary 1890–1918
Portrait of the painter Hans Massmann 1909
oil and metallic paint on canvas
120.0 x 110.0 cm
Kunsthaus Zug
Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI013309
Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1868-1918
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1903-32
Flower basket (Model no. S 781) 1906
silver
21.3 x 7.2 x 4.3 cm
Asenbaum Collection
ColApImg_EXHI014746
Josef HOFFMANN (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1870–1956
WÜRBEL & CZOKALLY (CARL WÜRBEL), Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1892–1913
VINZENZ MAYER’S SÖHNE, Vienna (retailer)
Austria-Hungary 1810–1922
Sports trophy 1902
silver, gilt, malachite
26.0 x 7.1 cm diameter
Private collection
© Josef Hoffmann Estate
ColApImg_EXHI012867
George MINNE
Belgium 1866-1941
Kneeling youth 1898
plaster
79.5 x 19.4 x 44.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Women’s Association to commemorate their 50th Anniversary and the 150th Anniversary of the NGV and with the assistance of the proceeds of the National Gallery of Victoria Annual Dinners, 2011 (2011.10)
Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014728
Egon SCHIELE
Self-portrait with peacock waistcoat, standing 1911
gouache, watercolour and crayon
51.5 x 34.5 cm
Private collection
ColApImg_EXHI014224
Oskar KOKOSCHKA
Austria-Hungary/Czechoslovakia/England 1886-1980
Conte Verona (1910)
oil on canvas
70.6 x 58.7 cm
Private collection, New York
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI012902
Otto WAGNER (designer)
Austria 1841–1918
Alexander ALBERT (manufacturer)
Austria active c.1904
Chair for Dr Karl Lueger 1904
Rosewood (Dalbergia sp.), mother-of-pearl, leather
98.5 x 63 x 59.5 cm
Wien Museum, Vienna
Estate of Karl Lueger, 1910
Enver Hirsch
ColApImg_EXHI014616
Unknown
Gustav Mahler conducts his Symphony No. 1 in D major
Cartoon from Wiener Illustrated Front Page of 25 November 1900
Photo: Imagno
IMAGNO/Austrian Archives
ColApImg_EXHI012199
Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Johanna Staude 1917–18
oil on canvas
70.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI012200
Koloman MOSER
Austria 1868–1918
Self-portrait c.1916–17
oil painting on canvas on cardboard
74.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI012201
Oskar KOKOSCHKA
The painter Carl Moll 1861-1945 1913
oil on canvas
128.0 x 95.5 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014409
Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI014461
Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI013996
Dagobert PECHE (designer)
Austria 1887–1923
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria 1903–1932
Jewel box (S 4880) 1920
silver-gilt
38.4 x 19.7 x 12.7 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Purchase, Anonymous gift, 1978
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, New York
ColApImg_EXHI013493 Egon SCHIELE
Austria 1890–1918
Self-portrait with hands on chest 1910
charcoal, watercolour and gouache
44.8 x 31.2 cm
Kunsthaus Zug, Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI012197 Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Fritza Riedler 1906
oil on canvas
152.0 x 134.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI013492 Egon SCHIELE
Austria-Hungary 1890–1918
Portrait of the painter Hans Massmann 1909
oil and metallic paint on canvas
120.0 x 110.0 cm
Kunsthaus Zug
Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI013309 Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1868-1918
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1903-32
Flower basket (Model no. S 781) 1906
silver
21.3 x 7.2 x 4.3 cm
Asenbaum Collection
ColApImg_EXHI014746 Josef HOFFMANN (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1870–1956
WÜRBEL & CZOKALLY (CARL WÜRBEL), Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1892–1913
VINZENZ MAYER’S SÖHNE, Vienna (retailer)
Austria-Hungary 1810–1922
Sports trophy 1902
silver, gilt, malachite
26.0 x 7.1 cm diameter
Private collection
© Josef Hoffmann Estate
ColApImg_EXHI012867 George MINNE
Belgium 1866-1941
Kneeling youth 1898
plaster
79.5 x 19.4 x 44.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Women’s Association to commemorate their 50th Anniversary and the 150th Anniversary of the NGV and with the assistance of the proceeds of the National Gallery of Victoria Annual Dinners, 2011 (2011.10)
Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014728 Egon SCHIELE
Self-portrait with peacock waistcoat, standing 1911
gouache, watercolour and crayon
51.5 x 34.5 cm
Private collection
ColApImg_EXHI014224 Oskar KOKOSCHKA
Austria-Hungary/Czechoslovakia/England 1886-1980
Conte Verona (1910)
oil on canvas
70.6 x 58.7 cm
Private collection, New York
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI012902 Otto WAGNER (designer)
Austria 1841–1918
Alexander ALBERT (manufacturer)
Austria active c.1904
Chair for Dr Karl Lueger 1904
Rosewood (Dalbergia sp.), mother-of-pearl, leather
98.5 x 63 x 59.5 cm
Wien Museum, Vienna
Estate of Karl Lueger, 1910
Enver Hirsch
ColApImg_EXHI014616 Unknown
Gustav Mahler conducts his Symphony No. 1 in D major
Cartoon from Wiener Illustrated Front Page of 25 November 1900
Photo: Imagno
IMAGNO/Austrian Archives
Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Johanna Staude 1917–18
oil on canvas
70.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Koloman MOSER
Austria 1868–1918
Self-portrait c.1916–17
oil painting on canvas on cardboard
74.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Oskar KOKOSCHKA
The painter Carl Moll 1861-1945 1913
oil on canvas
128.0 x 95.5 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014409 Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI014461 Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI013996 Dagobert PECHE (designer)
Austria 1887–1923
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria 1903–1932
Jewel box (S 4880) 1920
silver-gilt
38.4 x 19.7 x 12.7 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Purchase, Anonymous gift, 1978
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, New York

ColApImg_EXHI013673
Oskar KOKOSCHKA / Albert Berger
Poster for Vienna Kunstschau 1908
lithograph on paper
96 x 65 cm
Wien Museum
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia

In 1898, the Secessionists built an exhibition building to present the work of their members, as well as that of favoured international artists. Designed by Joseph Olbrich, the building was based on simple cubes and spheres. Its minimal white façade was contrasted by a dome decorated in gilded laurel leaves – symbolic of purity, victory and dignity.

The Secession marked a turning point for art in Vienna, opening the way for artists to explore new forms. From the influence of the Secession emerged artists such as Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, who found original ways to express their inner world as well as external realities.

Differences of opinion led many of the more progressive artists, including Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, to leave the Secession in 1905.

Timeline

© 2011 National Gallery of Victoria

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