At the turn of the 20th century, Vienna became an epicentre for new thought. A multi-disciplinary environment emerged where musicians, writers and intellectuals all flourished, often coming together in the capital’s famous coffee houses. This was the time of Freud and Wittgenstein, of Mahler and Schönberg, and of the Secession (1897–1905), the modern movement led by Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser that aimed to bring different arts together in a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’; of Jugendstil and of the Wiener Werkstätte.
There have been many exhibitions and publications devoted to this effervescence of artistic creation, and even more monographs devoted to its key players. None, however, brings together a selection of visual material from across the different artistic disciplines as significant as this volume, curated and authored by three leading scholars of the period. The illustrations take the lead throughout, creating an invaluable visual reference point for all those eager to identify a given category of the arts within this period, particularly in the field of the decorative arts, from ceramics to glass, silverwork, furniture and jewelry; and graphic arts, from book design to posters and postcards. There are also many less familiar works in the field of fashion and photography, and a particular focus is given to the role of women practitioners of the time.
This is an essential publication for anyone interested in fin-de-siècle Vienna, Viennese art and modern decorative arts more generally.