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Rarely have Vienna's museums been seen from such an interesting perspective because, to mark “100 years of Viennese Modernism”, many of them are paying homage to the outstanding artists and protagonists of this time with various special exhibitions. You will probably now think that all of the exhibitions are dedicated to just Klimt and Schiele, two exceptionally great artists who died 100 years ago? Partly, yes, but the exhibitions span much further than just these two partners of the Vienna Secession, one of the most significant art movements in Vienna around 1900.
In my view, it is especially thanks to these exhibitions that we can also learn more about the creative work of three female personalities of the time. The Leopold Museum is currently honouring two central figures of Viennese Modernism: in the special exhibition on Gustav Klimt, there is a separate "chapter" dedicated to his long-time muse, Emilie Flöge, who paradoxically finally steps out of his shadow in his jubilee year. After all, she was the most important haute couture designer in the Wiener Werkstätte’s city of Vienna and absolutely comparable to Coco Chanel who was working at the same time in Paris.
In addition, the museum pays tribute to Dora Kallmus, the most influential portrait and fashion photographer who was better known under her stage name, Madame D'Ora. She became known thanks to her press work for well-known haute couture magazines in Paris. Before that however she had already gained fame in Vienna through the portraits of famous contemporary artists. They all used to meet at Berta Zuckerkandl’s, the most prestigious Viennese salon, and she again particularly promoted the work of Gustav Klimt in her circles.
It would of course be impossible to celebrate this thematic year without Klimt, because he was an important co-founder of the Vienna-based artistic community, the Vienna Secession. Their goal was artistic freedom, from which both the modern Wiener Werkstätte and the Viennese Art Nouveau movement finally developed, away from traditional historicism.
By 1900 Vienna was the dazzling centre of many spiritual and cultural movements which to this day have not lost any of their fascination. At the time people used to meet in the so-called Viennese salons, including that of Berta Zuckerkandl, where they would debate about politics, art, culture and Viennese society. Important central figures of the time stood at the centre of the discussions.
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