A symbol of the approaching revolution, the Viennese Secession represented the rebellion of twenty artists against the conservative artistic Academy’s oppressive influence over the city, the age, and the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire. Influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, the Secession, created in 1897 by Gustav Klimt, Carl Moll, and Josef Hoffmann, was not simply an anonymous artistic revolution among many others. Defining itself as a 'total art', without any political or commercial constraint, this movement represented the ideological turmoil which affected the craftsmen, architects, graphic artists, and designers. Turning away from the established art and immersing themselves in the generous and decorative shapes of the organic, the artists opened themselves to an evocative, erotic aesthetic which could only serve to offend the bourgeoisie of the time.
Painting, sculpture, and architecture are confronted by the author of this book, to highlight the diversity and the richness of a movement whose motto, “For each time its art, for each art its liberty” illustrates its innovation and originality.
Victoria Charles received her PhD in art history. She has published extensively on art history and has contributed to Art Information, an international guide to contemporary art. A well-published journalist, Charles also contributed to a collective work, 1000 Paintings of Genius.
Klaus H. Carl is a writer, photographer, and professor. He is the author of numerous books and articles.
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