Viennese Modernism Forever



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.

Viennese Modernism and Klimt

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.

© Viennissima

Klimt and Viennese Modernism

The eponymous building of the Vienna Secession is known to be one of the most impressive and most significant examples of Art Nouveau in Austria and has just undergone extensive renovation in time for the anniversary year. The freshly shining golden dome is reminiscent of the most successful artistic years of its very first president: Gustav Klimt.


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Other central figures of Viennese Modernism

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.

© Viennissima

Unique artists of Viennese Modernism

For friends of architecture, photography and salon culture there are three special exhibitions running in the autumn which show the diverse connections between art, literature, music, architecture and philosophy But all of the fashionistas among you will be thrilled by the fashion photography exhibition on Madame D'Ora, who lived in Paris for many years. One of my personal insider tips!

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Birgit Pototschnig

A few years ago Birgit returned to her beloved Vienna following 13 years in the international fashion and lifestyle branch. Her great fascination for the city, as well as her professional fashion years abroad, motivated Birgit to write her lifestyle blog with a focus on Vienna and the beautiful things in life. Always with a “touch of fashion”.

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