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Vienna Secession


The Vienna Secession (German: Wiener Secession; also known as the Union of Austrian Artists, or Vereinigung Bildender Künstler Österreichs) was an art movement formed in 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.

The Vienna Secession was founded on 3 April 1897 by artists Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Wilhelm Bernatzik and others. Although Otto Wagner is widely recognised as an important member of the Vienna Secession he was not a founding member. The Secession artists objected to the prevailing conservatism of the Vienna Künstlerhaus with its traditional orientation toward Historicism. The Berlin and Munich Secession movements preceded the Vienna Secession, which held its first exhibition in 1898.

The group earned considerable credit for its exhibition policy, which made the French Impressionists somewhat familiar to the Viennese public. The 14th Secession exhibition, designed by Josef Hoffmann and dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, was especially famous. A statue of Beethoven by Max Klinger stood at the center, with Klimt's Beethoven frieze mounted around it. The Klimt frieze has been restored and can be seen in the gallery today.



  • Schorske, Carl E. "Gustav Klimt: Painting and the Crisis of the Liberal Ego" in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. Vintage Books, 1981.
  • Borsi, Franco, and Ezio Godoli. "Vienna 1900 Architecture and Design". New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 1986.
  • Arnanson, Harvard H. "History of Modern Art". Ed. Daniel Wheeler. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc, 1986. .
  • Kathrin Romberg (ed.): Maurizio Cattelan. Text by Francesco Bonami, Wiener Secession, Wien.
  • Topp, Leslie. "Architecture and truth in fin-de-siecle vienna". Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2004.
  • "Architecture in Austria in the 20th and 21st Centuries". Ed. Gudrun Hausegger. Basel, SW: Birkhauser, 2006.
  • Sekler, Eduard F. "Josef Hoffmann The Architectural Work". Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1985.
  • O'Connor, Anne-Marie (2012). The Lady in Gold, The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, .
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