Exhibit Information

Neue Gallerie

Address 1048 Fifth Avenue @86th Street
New York, NY 10028

Click here for quick directions
Phone Number 212-628-6200

Website http://www.neuegalerie.org

BIRTH OF THE MODERN: STYLE & IDENTITY IN VIENNA 1900

Opening: 23 FEBRUARY 2011 - Closing: 27 JUNE 2011

BIRTH OF THE MODERN: STYLE & IDENTITY IN VIENNA 1900


When Your Roving Arts-Reporter was editing & publishing The Art Deco News, he was invited to Vienna several times to study & photograph—for INFOTOGRAPHY™—the Architecture & Artworks of Viennese-Modernism.

 

Notable among them were the remarkable Kirche am Steinhof, designed by Otto Wagner & decorated by Kolo Moser, as well as Wagner’s impressive bronze railings & lights along the Danube-Canal.

 

The creations of the famed Wiener-Werkstätte—including powerful fabric-designs, which are still manufactured in Vienna—also were captured by my lenses.

 

Now at the Neue Galerie are more than 150 paintings, sculptures, works-on-paper, fashions, & decorative-art objects created by the Artists of Viennese-Modernism.

 

Among the highlights are the paintings Hope II (Vision), 1907-08, by Gustav Klimt, Lotte Franzos, 1909, by Oskar Kokoschka, & Laughing Self-Portrait, 1908, by Richard Gerstl, & important decorative artworks by Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, Kolo Moser, & Adolf Loos.

 

In Imperial-Vienna, the Jahrhundertwende—or Turn-of-the-Century—was a time of Change in many things: Social, Political, & in the Arts.

 

The Neue Galerie explains this change: "At the end of the 19th-century, traditional means of defining Personal-Identity—namely, on the basis of Gender, Culture, Religion, & Nationality—were fundamentally challenged.

 

"As the conventions of the past hundred years were undermined by developments in the Social, Political, & Philosophical Realms, the very idea of the Self was radically redefined.”

 

The curious nature of the K. u K. Habsburg Empire—Royal & Imperial—already had in it the seeds of its disintegration, even before the disaster of the Great War. Noble & Princely Houses in Vienna were not the exclusive domains of Native-Austrians, but also of Magnates from Bohemia, Moravia, Hungary & even Poland.

 

The Center could not Hold…

 

The new exhibition at the Neue Galerie shows a Common-Thread running through the Fine & Decorative-Arts in turn-of-the-century Vienna: the Evolution of the Concept of Modern-Individual-Identity.

 

In Painting, the Decorative-Arts, & Music, this was developed in a dialogue between Surface-Ornamentation & Inner-Structure, as well as a search for a specifically Modern, Viennese, Sense of Self.

 

The exhibition fills both the second & third floors of the museum.

 

The second-floor is devoted to Fine-Art from the period, examining themes of Changing-Representations of Women, Psychological-Portraits of the Modern-Man, & the Crossovers among Art, Medicine, & Psychology, revealed in the paintings of artists such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Richard Gerstl, & Oskar Kokoschka.

 

The Star of all these paintings is, of course, Klimt’s "Die schoene Adele,” his glittering portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the most expensive painting in recent memory, bought by Neue-Galerie Founder, Ronald Lauder.

 

Examples of turn-of-the-century Women’s-Fashions are also on-view.

 

The third floor begins with a room dedicated to the work of Architect Otto Wagner, father of the Modern-Movement in Vienna.

 

One of the two remaining large galleries showcases the ground-breaking-innovations of the artists of the Vienna-Secession. Notable is the "Golden-Cabbage,” the goldly-glittering home of the Secessionists.

 

The other gallery explores Decorative-Artists’ two Divergent-Paths to Modernism: one exemplified by the members of the Wiener-Werkstätte [Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, & Dagobert Peche], with their desire to create a Gesamtkunstwerk, or Total-Work-of-Art, & the other, with the strict Formalism of Adolf Loos.

 

Collectors of the often-jewel-like creations of the Werkstätte may not realize that one of the aims of these artists was also to create beautiful things that could enrich the lives of Ordinary-People & Workers.

 

But, as the Furniture & Objects were made of costly materials, also with costly fine-workmanship, no Workers could afford such Treasures.

 

Josef Urban—Viennese-Architect of the now-vanished Ziegfeld-Theatre & the Hearst-Building, at 57th & Eighth—even opened a Werkstätte-boutique on Fifth-Avenue. But it did not prosper, as American Art-Deco tastes were developing in a different direction than that of Viennese-Modernism.

 

In a small fourth room, the Revolutionary-Music of Viennese-Composers such as Gustav Mahler & Arnold Schönberg can be heard. Not to forget that Mahler once lived in Manhattan & conducted at the Metropolitan Opera

 

Today, the Gravesites of most of these Modern-Masters can be visited in Vienna’s Central-Friedhof, although Adolf Loos’ simple monument is far away from most, against an outer wall, far far away from the Famed.

 

Hoffmann designed his own grave-marker.

 

Although Arnold Schönberg died in Hollywood—he escaped the Nazis’ Death-Mills—his Mortal-Remains were dug-up & removed to the Central-Friedhof, where he now rests among the Other-Modernist-Greats…

<- Back