More than 150 paintings, sculpture, works on paper, fashion, and decorative art objects. Among the highlights are the paintings Hope II (Vision), 1907-08 by Gustav Klimt, Lotte Franzos, 1909, by Oskar Kokoschka, and Laughing Self-Portrait, 1908, by Richard Gerstl, and key decorative artworks by Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Adolf Loos. The aim of this exhibition is to show a common thread running through the fine and decorative arts in turn-of-the-century Vienna: the evolution of the concept of modern individual identity.
On February 24, 2011, the Neue Galerie New York will open the exhibition “Vienna 1900: Style and Identity,” including more than 150 paintings, sculpture, works on paper, fashion, and decorative art objects. Among the highlights are the paintings Hope II (Vision), 1907-08 by Gustav Klimt, Lotte Franzos, 1909, by Oskar Kokoschka, and Laughing Self-Portrait, 1908, by Richard Gerstl, and key decorative artworks by Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Adolf Loos.
Organized by Jill Lloyd, an independent scholar and curator, and Christian Witt-Dörring, adjunct curator of decorative arts at the Neue Galerie, the exhibition will fill all the exhibition spaces of the museum. The Neue Galerie is its sole venue, where it will be on view through June 27.
“With this exhibition, and really our entire program at the Neue Galerie, we are bringing to life a time and a place of incredible richness,” said Ronald S. Lauder, President of the Neue Galerie. “Vienna 1900—its intellectual strength, its sensuality, and its emotional directness—is at the core of who we are and what we do.”
“As a native Viennese myself, I confess to being forever fascinated by the city and its extraordinary range of cultural expressions,” said Renée Price, director of the Neue Galerie. “It is my privilege to return to Vienna, and to enrich the public’s understanding with this exhibition.”
At the end of the nineteenth century, traditional means of defining personal identity—namely, on the basis of gender, culture, religion, and nationality—were fundamentally challenged. As the conventions of the past hundred years were undermined by developments in the social, political, and philosophical realms, the very idea of the self was radically redefined. The aim of this exhibition is to show a common thread running through the fine and decorative arts in turn-of-the-century Vienna: the evolution of the concept of modern individual identity. In painting, the decorative arts, and music, this was borne out in a dialogue between surface ornamentation and inner structure and a search for a specifically modern, Viennese sense of self.
The exhibition, which draws both from the Neue Galerie permanent collection and from collections in the United States and Europe, will fill both the second and third floors of the museum. The second floor will be devoted to fine art from the period, examining themes of changing representations of women, psychological portraits of the modern man, and the crossover among art, medicine, and psychology in the paintings of artists such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Richard Gerstl, and Oskar Kokoschka. Examples of turn-of-the-century women’s fashion will also be on view. The third floor will begin 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 will be dedicated to the ground-breaking innovations of the artists of the Vienna Secession. The other will explore turn-of-the-century decorative artists’ two divergent paths to Modernism: one exemplified by the members of the Wiener Werkstätte (Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Dagobert Peche) and their desire to create a Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, and the other by the strict formalism of Adolf Loos. In a small fourth room, the revolutionary music of Viennese composers such as Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg will be explored.
The fully-illustrated catalogue that accompanies this exhibition is published by Hirmer Verlag. The publication takes an interdisciplinary approach, examining not only the art and artists of the period, but also literature, psychology, philosophy, and musical and social history. It is edited by the co-curators of the exhibition, and features contributions from scholars Philipp Blom, Claude Cernuschi, Jean Clair, Alessandra Comini, Geoffrey Howes, Jill Lloyd, Christian Weikop, Christian Witt-Dörring.
Concurrent with the exhibition, a distinguished group of scholars will present lectures on aspects of turn-of-the-century Viennese culture and society. Lectures will take place on selected Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and are free for museum members. Regular admission will be $8 (students and seniors, $5). Tickets may be reserved in advance on the Neue Galerie website, or purchased the day of the lecture at the main admissions desk. Seating is limited.
Thursday, February 24
Curator, Birth of the Modern: Style and Identity in Vienna 1900
“Feminists and Femmes Fatales: Representing Women in Turn-of-the-Century Vienna”
Thursday, March 3
Author, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind
“Uncovering the Unconscious: A Modern Dialogue, Inspired by Vienna 1900, Between Science and Art”
Thursday, April 7
Author, A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889
“A Nervous Splendor Revisited”
Thursday, May 5
Author, In Passionate Pursuit
“National Idols, Private Identities: Music and Musicians in Imperial Vienna”
The Neue Galerie will also offer a film series, “Axel Corti: Welcome in Vienna.” Axel Corti was one of Austria’s most gifted film directors, and a leading figure on the Austrian cultural scene for more than thirty years. These films trace a unique Viennese journey through the twentieth century. Films are presented free of charge at 4 p.m. in Café Fledermaus.
Monday, February 28 and March 7
Der junge Freud (Young Dr. Freud), 1976
Monday, March 14 and 21
An uns glaubt Gott nicht mehr (God Does Not Believe in Us Anymore),* 1982
Monday, March 28 and April 4
Santa Fe,* 1986
Monday, April 11 and 18
Wohin und Zurück (Welcome in Vienna),* 1986
Monday, April 25 and May 2
Eine blaßblaue Frauenschrift (A Woman’s Pale Blue Handwriting),* 1984
Films indicated above with an asterisk have been provided by The National Center for Jewish Film.
On Wednesday, May 4, the museum will partner with the Perlman Music Program to present a special chamber music recital entitled “Vienna 1900.” Distinguished alumni from the Perlman Program will perform the vibrant music of fin-de-siècle Vienna. Tickets are free for members; $25 for the general public, and may be reserved by calling the Membership Department at (212) 994-9491.
Image: Gustav Klimt, Two Girls with an Oleander ca. 1890-92. Oil on canvas 55 x 128.5 cm (21 5/8 x 50 5/8 in.) © Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art/Art Resource, New York
Tel. +1 (212) 628-6200, ext. 409 firstname.lastname@example.org
Neue Galerie New York
Museum for German and Austrian Art 1048 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10028
Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with extended hours on the First Friday of each month until 8 p.m.)
Admission is $15 (students and seniors, $10), which includes the use of the audio tour. Children under 12 are not admitted, and those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.