Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The art revival in Austria
Holme, Charles
Persistente ID:
"The Studio " was unostentatiously but surely doing its work there 
as in other countries besides England. As Herr Muthasius said in 
his lectures on the " English Home," given at the Austrian Museum 
a few weeks ago, " The Studio " led the way to a new order of things 
by resolutely showing only that which was best. 
But a struggle followed, for it was not easy to change the order of 
things. There were fears that the Austrian style  would be lost. 
The authorities forgot that the fine Biedermaier period had long 
passed, giving way to commonplace imitations, which they were 
only too anxious to prescrve. 
Finally, in the Spring of 1897, the "Secession " was founded. It 
needed an uphcaval to bring about a complete change, but even 
at the first exhibition held by this society promise of a great future 
was shown. The word "Secession " caught fire; everything auträ 
bore the title " secessionistisch," and as in painting and architecture 
there were true and false Klimts and Otto Wagners, so in the arts 
and crafts there were truc and false secessionists. But what a world 
lay between the two ! The stranger coming to Vienna, who knew 
nothing of Josef Hoffmann, Olbrich, Koloman Moser, Plecnik, 
Leopold Bauer, Jan Kotera, Adolf Bühm, Roller, Krauss, and other 
secessionists in the arts and crafts, must have shrunk from "Seces- 
sion " with a feeling of horror that in a city famous for art such 
"un-art" should be found, and longed for those bronzes, leather 
goods, porcelain and other objet: d'art for which this historic 
city had long been celebrated. "Secession" has survived this, for it 
is no longer a by-word, but one to which all honour is due. Even 
the split has made little differcnce in this respect. The "Secession" 
has donc most to bring about the modern development in the arts 
and crafts ; it showed what other nations were doing, and introduced, 
among othcrs, the Belgian, English, and Scotch schools to Vienna. 
Oddly enough, the two latter appealed most to men like Hoffmann and 
Moser, for while Van der Velde found footing in Germany, Ashbee 
and the Mackintoshes were preferred in Austria, though Olbrich 
followed in the footsteps of the Belgians. Out of these foreign 
elements has arisen a true Austrian style, which has gradually but 
surely developed during the last eight years. 
The appointment in 1899 of Baron Felician Myrbach as Director 
of the k.k. Kunstgewerbe-Schule (Imperial Arts and Crafts School) 
was a step in the right direction, for he had travelled much, and 
had lived and studied art in Paris. He was a man of large ideas, 
conscious of the strength of his staff, which numbered many able 
men-Josef Hoffmann, Alfred Roller, Koloman Moser, Arthur 
D n


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