Vienna 1900

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Vienna 1900: Art-Architecture & Design Author(s): Kirk Varnedoe Source: MoMA, No. 40 (Summer, 1986), pp. 1-2 Published by: The Museum of Modern Art Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4380992 Accessed: 08-08-2015 06:45 UTC

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InternationalCouncilGalleries, groundfloor July3-October22

Though it contains manyof the same masterworksseen in the recent exhibitionsdevoted to modernViennese cultureand society held in On July 3 the Museum opened the Vienna and Paris,the Museum's firstexhibitionever to present to the VIENNA1900 adds manysuperbnew Americanpublicthe full spectrumof works fromprivateand museum early modernart in Vienna. VIENNA collectionsin the United States and 1900 includesnot only greatmasterEurope.More closely focused on the U U pieces by Gustav Klimt,Egon visual arts of early modernVienna, Schiele, and OskarKokoschka(many and on the epoch of their highest of which have not been seen previachievements,VIENNA 1900 ously in the U.S.), but also a fabupresents an integrateddisplaythat lous arrayof decorativearts and the appliedarts to reshapecomdisturbedportraitsof Viennese clearlyilluminatesboth the interrelafurnitureby the artists and craftspletely the viewer's experience.The intellectuals,artists, and aristotionshipof talents in Viennese art men of the renownedWiener artists of the Secession and the col- crats are amongthe most searing and the rapid,dramaticchangesin Werkstatte.In addition,architeclaborativedesign workshop,the announcementsof the harshenergies style that markedits development. turalmodelsand drawingsrepresent Wiener Werkstatte,devoted their of Expressionism,is representedby The legacy of Vienna is more alive majorinnovativebuildingsby the talents to fabrics,ceramics,silversuch key works as the portraitof the today than ever. In recent years a Viennese architectsOtto Wagner, ware, book design, fashion, and bohemianViennese writer Peter broaderpublichas become awareof furniturethat rangedfromprotoJosephMaria Olbrich,Josef Altenberg. And the brilliantthough the richnessof this exceptionalcity's Hoffmann,and Adolf Loos. In the Minimalsimplicityto lavish, one-of- tragicallyshort careerof Egon contributionsto modernthought GardenHall, a full-scale,seventeen- a-kindinlaidpieces of ebony, ivory, Schieleis manifestin all its variety, and creativity,while contemporary foot-tallreplicaof a lost work by and mother-of-pearl.All these varied fromhis trenchantExpressionist architects, designers,and artists Otto Wagner-the startlingly expressionsof the Viennese genius, portraitsand self-portraitsthrough have found inspirationin the Vienfromrigorousstructurallogic and forward-lookingaluminumfacadeof the melancholyallegoriesand landnese arts. Many of the most telling the news dispatchbureauDie Zeitpurity to extravagantjeweled richscapes of the years of WorldWarI, debates regardingthe art of the stands at the entranceof the Interness, are visible throughoutthe exhi- to the stunninggraphicpower of his 1980s-over historicismand decoranationalCouncil Galleries. bition,juxtaposedwith the great unrivaled,often brutallyerotic, tion, or over a new expressionismThe exhibitioncoversthe years masterpiecesof paintingthat are drawingsand watercolors.Also on findtheir mirrorin the electric fromthe foundingof the rebelartists' turn-of-the-centuryVienna's most view are the unusualand often fanmomentof experimentthat held society, the Secession, in 1897 to the familiarhallmarks. tasist work of artists less well-known Vienna in thrallfor the magicyears In painting,the exhibitionfeatures to Americanaudiences,such as the fatalyear of 1918, which saw the before 1918. VIENNA1900, which the specialsensualpower of Gustav proto-surrealdrawingsof Alfred end of the centuries-oldHabsburg will appearonly at the Museum and Monarchyand the dissolutionof the Klimt;his portraitsand nudes, often Kubinand the uncannyquasiwill not travel,providesan excepwith dazzlinggold-leafedsurfaces, Austro-HungarianEmpire.During cinematicvisions of KlemensBrosch, tional opportunity,unlikelyto be displayhis distinctivetalent as a these exceptionalyears, Vienna as well as the fascinatingpaintings repeated,to understandthis epoch masterof elegant eroticism.The witnessed strikinginnovationsin of RichardGerstl and Arnold and this society throughsome of its youngerOskarKokoschka,whose virtuallyevery domainof culture. Schoenberg. most seductive and most challenging SigmundFreud'sreconceptionof the artisticaccomplishments.D natureof man as a sensual and civi-Kirk Varnedoe lized being, the musicalinventions Adjunct Curator, of Gustav Mahler and the younger Departmentof PaintArnold Schoenberg,the literary ing and Sculpture contributionsof, amongothers, *=~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Arthur Schnitzlerand Robert Musil-all these basic components of twentieth-centuryculturewere productsof the complex,cosmopoliVienna 1900: tan society of the capitalon the Ticketing Information Danube. Hub of CentralEuropeand Membersare not requiredto purgoverningcenter of an unwieldly -'m chase either tickets in advanceor Empirethat stretchedfromthe timedtickets in orderto view the Veneto to Russia, the Vienna of the VIENNA1900 exhibition. EmperorFranzJosef also saw the Museum Members enter the exhiemergenceof new kindsof political bition by presentingtheir memberpolemic,in styles of mass politics that gave birthto both the Zionism ship cardsto the ticket-takerat the groundfloorentranceto the exhibiof TheodoreHerzl and darkerfascinations with demagoguery.With its tion. Museum Members (Individual, elegant society in decline and its Family/Dual,Participating)who wish to bringguests to VIENNA1900 young civilizationbeingborn, the maypurchasetickets to the exhibiVienna of those days was a place of dazzlingcontradictions.This city of tion for $1.00 at the Information spectacle and theater poised on the Desk. Guest Passes are requiredfor ~. : volatile line between East and West entranceto the Museum. Patron, was the formativelocale of manyof Sustaining,Supporting,and Fellow the ideas and artisticinventionsthat Membersmay acquireguest tickets continue to shape our lives today. to the exhibitionat the Information In no other EuropeancapitaloutDesk free of charge. side Pariswas aesthetic life such a Nonmembersenter the Museum prominentconcern. Vienna stood throughthe east entrance(nearest apartby virtue of an exceptional Fifth Avenue) and proceedto the eruptionof talent and ambitionin all ticket booths on the east side of the the visual arts. Viennese architects, Lobby,where tickets to VIENNA painters, and designerswere drawn 1900 are availablefor $6.00 ($5.00 recurrentlyto the ideal of the for generaladmissionand $1.00 for *Otto Wagner.Facade,"DieZeit"DispatchBureau (modernreconstruction of 1902 original). VIENNA1900). Pay-What-You-Wish Gesamtkunstwerk, the total work of art, which would unite the fine and Aluminumand glass.CollectionHistorischesMuseuAm derStadt Wien, Vienna. does not applyto VIENNA1900. U

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The exhibitionhas been generouslysupportedby Mr. and Mrs. RonaldS. Lauderand the Lauderfamily.Additionalsupporthas been receivedfromThe InternationalCouncil of The Museum of Modern Art. An indemnityfor the exhibitionhas been providedby the FederalCouncil on the Arts and the Humanities.

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EgonSchiele.Two Girls Lying Entwined (The Models). 1915. Penciland gouacheon paper.CollectionGraphische SammlungAlbertina,Vienna.

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* JosefHoffmann.Oil and vinegarcruetsand othertable objects.c. 1904. Silverand glass.Privatecollection.

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* KolomanMoser.Posterfor Secession XIII. 1902. Litho-

graph.Privatecollection, courtesyBarryFriedmanLtd., New York.

* GustavKlimt.Hope II.190708. Oil and goldon canvas. The Museumof ModernArt, HelenAchesonFunds.

Cover:Clockwise from upperleft: * JosefHoffmann.Chair.1906. Wood.Privatecollection. * GustavKlimt.Salome JudithII). 1909. Oil on canvas.Collection Galleriad'ArteModerna Ca' Pesaro,Venice. * Otto Wagner.Post Office SavingsBank(Postparkasse) CompetitionDesign (seen fromthe Ringstrasse).1903. Penciland inkon paper.Col, lectionHistorischesMuseum derStadt Wien, Vienna.

Vienna 1900: Video In conjunctionwith the exhibition,a 28 minutedocumentaryvideotape, Vienna 1900, is screened daily at the Museum. The programexpandson the themes of the exhibition,examining Viennese culturallife and its influence on the evolutionof modernthought. It offersa variety of criticalperspectives, clarifyingthe political,social, and culturalcircumstancesthat influencedthe artists whose works are represented in the exhibition.ProfessorStephen Toulmin,a formerstudent of Ludwig Wittgenstein, narratesthe film.He is Professorof SocialThought at the University of Chicagoand Visiting Scholarat the Getty Center in Malibu, California.The programwas produced by MetropolitanArts, Inc., underthe

auspicesof The Austrian Press and InformationService, New York,and was madepossibleby the Creditanstalt, Vienna-New Yorkand the Austrian National TouristOffice. Vienna 1900: Recorded Tour KirkVarnedoe,Professorat New York University's Institute of Fine Arts and Adjunct Curatorin the Departmentof Paintingand Sculptureat The Museum of Modern Art, has preparedand narrated a recordedtour of the exhibition Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture& Design.As organizerof the exhibition and authorof its accompanyingcatalog, Dr. Varnedoeprovidesan informedand insightfulguide to the splendidarrayof masterworksin the exhibition,focusing on its highlights.He describesthe artis-

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tic developmentsthat occurredin Vienna between 1898 and 1918, revealing how they were expressedin the paintings,decorativeobjects, graphic design, and architectureon view. The tour offersvisitors a concise and coherent interpretationof one of the most creative,complicated,and excitingperi ods in the history of modernart. The tour is availablein Englishand lasts approximatelythirty minutes. The rentalfee is $3.00 per person.

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