Around 1900, Vienna was a vibrant city, stimulating intellectual life, a dynamic capital of elites who did innovative work in many fields. Otto Wagner observed in 1905 that “despite unfavourable conditions, Vienna walks at the head of the cultural nations”. In a similar vein, international critics noted that Vienna was almost unrivalled in the sheer wealth of modern architecture that existed at that time.

Gustav Klimt and his members left the traditionalist brotherhood of artists in 1897 and founded their association (“Secession”). Josef Maria Olbrich built them a house which was a Gesamtkunstwerk in its own right. Otto Wagner influenced Viennese architecture, achieving a breakthrough for the new style with his Wienzeile houses and building Art Nouveau stations for the new underground railway. Reviews, including those of Hermann Bahr, soon came to the fore, attracted by the rapid success of the new style.

This new movement, which had been joined by Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffmann and included Max Fabiani among its ranks, reduced the décor and preached the parsimonious use of geometric and disciplined ornaments while maintaining the claim for the creation of a Gesamtkunstwerk. The main Vienna building of this period was Otto Wagner’s Postal and Savings Bank. But Adolf Loos was the most persevering in advancing towards Modernism: he rejected all ornaments and even turned against the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk.

Nevertheless, Modernism remained of minor importance in Viennese architecture in the following decades. A new style recognised as Heimatstil predominated, which took root during the Biedermeier period. Leopold Bauer, who succeeded Otto Wagner at the Academy of Fine Arts, was a major representative of this movement, which consciously returned to the past.

Image artist function date
Max Fabiani architect 1865-1962
Franz and Hubert Gessner architects 1879-1975 / 1871-1943
Josef Hackhofer architect 1863-1917
Josef Hoffmann architect and designer 1870-1956
Gustav Klimt painter 1862-1918
Adolf Loos architect, designer, cultural philosopher 1870-1933
Kolo Moser designer 1868-1918
Friedrich Ohmann architect 1858-1927
Joseph Maria Olbrich architect 1867-1908
Josef Plecnik architect 1872-1957
Otto Wagner architect 1841-1918
Cover Author Description date Link
Frederike Demattio Jugendstil Guide Wien
Über 100 Bauwerke laden die Leser dieses City Guides zu einer Entdeckungsreise durch die Architektur der Jahrhundertwende ein und zeigen anhand von kurzen Texten, welch wesentlichen Beitrag die Wiener Baukunst zur Entstehung der »Modernen Architektur« geleistet hat. Der Bogen spannt sich dabei von der Secession über die Otto-Wagner-Kirche bis zum Palmenhaus im Burggarten. Die übersichtliche Gestaltung und die wunderbaren Fotos machen diesen neuen Stadtführer zu einem unentbehrlichen Begleiter durch das Wien um 1900.
Metroverla ISBN: 978-3-99300-007-3