Monday, August 9, 2010

The birth of Modernism

Daniel, meet Secession. It's a gallery built in 1898 around Modernism early origins in Vienna (it has no windows). Today it houses Klimt's gorgeous Beethoven frieze. Originally shown in the building in 1902, the work is a homage to Beethoven and today recognized as among the chef d'oeuvres of Viennese Art Nouveau. An eclectic art show full of bright ideas and more lady bits - Where do we go to from here? - was on in the upstairs levels. Klimt's work was a riot of rose pinks, duck greens and gold. It depicted women sleeping, journeying, women as the daughters of monsters, as grief, as angels and lovers. It represents humankind's search towards happiness. Like most artworks, the story of it's own passage is an interesting one. Created to be taken down after its first exhibition, the piece was bought by the industrialist August Lederer in 1915. It was expropriated by the Nazis in 1938, but remained in Austria. Lawfully purchased by the Austrian state in 1973, after 10 years of restoration, finally hangs in the place it was made for almost a century ago.




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