During the Art Nouveau period, Austria was part of the Austrian Hungarian empire.

Wien (Vienna)

The Secession (1897-1906)

The Wien sezession was created in May 1897 by the famous painter Gustav Klimt. The first members included Josef Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser and Rudolph Bacher. In 1899, Otto Wagner arrived in the group. Otto Wagner was the chairman and famous teacher of Wien school of architecture. Under his pulse, the movement took another dimension.

In 1898, Olbrich built the Sezession building where the next exhibitions of the sezession group took place. It is still written on the building, the sezession moto: "To each time, its art; to art, its liberty." The building has white nude walls contrasting with its sculpted golden coupole. It is decorated inside with the famous "Beethoven" freeze by Klimt.

In the first issue of the sezession magazine named "Ver Sacrum" in January 1898, Klimt explained the aim of the movement: "We do not know any difference between major arts and minor arts, between art for the rich and art for the poor. Art belongs to everybody." (There are 7 major arts : painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, litterature...). The sezession disapeared in 1906 when Klimt left the group.

The Wiener Werkstätte (1903-1926)

In 1903, Hoffmann, Moser and the buisnessman Waendorfer created the Wiener Werkstätte, a group of artists and craftsmen specialized in woodwork, metalwork, leatherwork... and which aims to lead handworking to art. The Wiener Werstätte had its own workshop but also used the services of several famous art industries to produce their designs : Loetz in Klostermühle (Hungary) for glass work, J&L; Lobmeyr and Graf von Harrach for the glass work in Vienna. 

Josef Hoffman and his group wanted to create objects adapted to their function and their time. Their basis was the Biedermeier style, a style that was the closest to their aim.

The Wiener Werstätte aera lasted after the end of Art Nouveau till the mid twenties victim of the price of the objects which do not match with their function?


Thonet brothers, inventors of a new technique to bend wood, created numerous pieces of furniture that could sometimes be called Art Nouveau. (see picture on the right)


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